RESIDENTS who are against a windfarm bid for a site near Longhorsley have been urged to attend a public meeting about the application.
Following a request from local county councillor Glen Sanderson, this evening’s session was set up to give people the chance to have their say and ask questions about the proposal by Energiekontor UK to erect five 126.5m-tall turbines at Fenrother.
More than 1,400 letters of objection have been submitted, along with around 450 in support.
Both sides have said the meeting will be useful, but the developer has been criticised by the Fight Fenrother and Longhorsley Windfarm Group for not sending someone along to speak and answer questions in person.
Group Chairman Dr James Lunn said: “We think this is a wonderful opportunity for people to raise some questions and concerns about the scheme and show the county council how worried we are about the effects it would have on the community.
“Residents across the area are opposing the windfarm and we’re grateful to Coun Sanderson for making this happen because it is unusual for a public meeting to take place about a planning application.
“We’re not surprised that no-one from Energiekontor UK will be present as it knows it can’t answer the questions we want to ask.
“It’s a callous regard for public involvement and community consultation.”
Concerns include the site being on Green Belt land, the turbines would lie between two major roads, both known for frequent traffic accidents, and the loss of visual amenity.
The windfarm’s Project Manager Sam Dewar said: “Over the past months we have been actively consulting with local households, explaining the scheme and the benefits it will bring.
“This has been underpinned by public exhibitions where local people have been able to find out more and provide us with positive and beneficial feedback.
“We welcome this meeting as it provides another opportunity for locals to ask important questions of the council officers and get the answers to any concerns they might have.
“However, if there are any planning related questions which arise that residents do not feel are adequately addressed within our planning application and associated environmental statement, I am more than pleased to respond to these people with further information.”
The meeting, which will take place at King Edward VI School in Morpeth from 6pm to 8pm, comes in the recent wake of the Prime Minister’s insistence that there will be no change to the Government’s renewable energy policy.
Energiekontor believes this is a “strong reaffirmation” for its proposal.