Wind scheme thrown out

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A controversial windfarm bid, near to an existing six turbines, was rejected by the council’s planning committee this week.

At Tuesday night’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee, the five-turbine Rayburn Lake windfarm, near Netherwitton, which had been recommended for refusal, was turned down by councillors.

RES UK and Ireland Ltd’s bid for five 127-metre-high turbines between Wingates and Netherwitton had sparked 159 objections from residents and three from parish councils.

The planning officer pointed out that the turbines at the nearby Wingates windfarm are 110-metres-tall, while even the Cramlington turbines are three metres shorter at 124-metres-to-blade-tip.

On behalf of objectors, John Trevelyan, vice-chairman of Netherwitton Parish Council, said: “Many locals are fearful of the cumulative impact if this proposal were to go ahead.

“Northumberland has already met its renewables target.”

He also referred to the impact the windfarm would have on the grade I-listed Netherwitton Hall, saying it would ‘create and an unacceptable scar’.

Coun Trevelyan also claimed he had not come across any residents who were in favour of the proposals.

An representative of RES attempted to point out the weaknesses in some of the proposed reasons for refusal, including that it was unclear from where the officer’s conclusions were drawn.

He also highlighted the benefits, saying the windfarm would boost the regional economy by £1.4million.

But the committee was happy to follow officer advice and refuse the application.

Coun Trevor Thorne said: “I think all five reasons are good and would stand up to scrutiny.”

The planning officer’s report had concluded that the scheme should be knocked back because it would have ‘significant and unacceptable adverse impacts on visual amenity and on the character of the local landscape’ as well as ‘a significant and unacceptable cumulative adverse impact on the special qualities of the Northumberland National Park’, ‘overbearing and oppressive impacts on Lily Cottage and Holly Lodge’ and ‘a significant and unacceptable impact on the landscape and visual amenity when viewed from Wingates village’.

The fifth reason was that ‘the windfarm would have an adverse effect on the aviation safety in terms of the safe operation of Newcastle International Airport, MoD Radar and NATS’.