17ft hedge would hide turbine views

Matin Shotton and his wife Sarah Shotton of Moor Edge House at Longhorsley who are campaigning about wind turbines being built near their home-they have been told to build 18 feet high hedges-Sarah is seen holding an 18 feet tall measure.'REF 0608134704
Matin Shotton and his wife Sarah Shotton of Moor Edge House at Longhorsley who are campaigning about wind turbines being built near their home-they have been told to build 18 feet high hedges-Sarah is seen holding an 18 feet tall measure.'REF 0608134704
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A WINDFARM developer has suggested residents could grow a 17ft-high hedge to help screen their view of its proposed turbines.

The statement has been submitted as part of Energiekontor UK’s appeal to erect five turbines, 126.5m-high, at Fenrother, near Longhorsley, to screen the windfarm from Moor Edge House.

But residents Martin and Sarah Shotton, who have spent £600,000 adapting the home for their autistic son James, say the suggestion is ‘farcical’.

Mr Shotton said: “What Energiekontor has suggested is that we grow a hedge in excess of 17ft high to screen these turbines. We just thought it was farcical.

“We can’t believe anybody in their right mind would want to live in the countryside with a hedge 17ft high blocking their views. We live right on the moor edge and have views over towards the sea and the countryside. The hedge would be so close to the property it is not just an issue of the view, but also the light.

“They talk about taking eight years to grow the hedge to 18ft high. There is no way that any hedge would grow to that height.”

Mr Shotton said the windfarm bid is taking a toll on the family, particularly 21-year-old James, who has an issue with spinning objects.

The Energiekontor submission accepts that Moor Edge House would have direct views of the turbines, as well as existing ones at Lynemouth and Bewick Drift, but says they would only occupy a small proportion of the panoramic views.

It states: “I provide a section from Moor Edge to the nearest turbine, which demonstrates that should the hedge be allowed to grow to a height of 5.4m it would screen all views of the turbines.”

It goes on: “Similarly, it would be possible to plant blocks of deciduous planting along the boundary of the property, of a similar nature to that to the south of the property, to screen views within approximately eight years. A similar effect could also be achieved by planting groups of trees closer to the house, whereby a lesser height of planting would create the same screening effect.”

Energiekontor Project Manager Sam Dewar said the statement is not intended as a suggestion and that even without a hedge the windfarm would be acceptable.

He said: “It basically states that if the existing hedgerow species that is in situ were to be allowed to continue growing and exceed 5.4m in height then all views to the windfarm would be screened. This is a matter of fact rather than a suggestion or request.

“Whether the hedge were to be allowed to grow or not we still believe that our Environmental Impact Assessment, as submitted to the planning department back in August 2012, demonstrates that the relationship between the property and the proposed windfarm would be acceptable.”

The windfarm application was turned down by Northumberland County Council in January. An appeal hearing is scheduled later this month.