HUNDREDS of people opposing windfarm plans on the edge of Morpeth are celebrating after they were turned down by councillors.
On Tuesday evening, members of the county council’s planning and environment committee accepted the reasons for refusal from planning officers in regard to Wind Ventures’ proposal for four turbines up to 115metres high on a site at the former Tranwell Airfield.
They said the structures would have significant and unacceptable adverse impacts on visual amenity, the character of the local landscape and the openness and the green-belt extension to the north, west and south west of Morpeth.
In addition, they ruled that the development would be ‘overbearing and dominating’, which would result in unacceptable and significant adverse impacts on residential amenity.
The Tranwell Windfarm Action Group (TWAG) was set up to coordinate the campaign against the windfarm. It is made up of people living in Meldon, Mitford, Morpeth, Stannington and Whalton.
Neil Robson, of Ward Hadaway, spoke on its behalf at the meeting and county councillor Eileen Armstrong represented the views of the Meldon, Mitford, Stannington and Whalton parish councils.
Karen Carins, a leading member of TWAG, said: “We’re all delighted with the committee’s decision.
“We’re grateful to everyone who has supported us and this shows what can happen when communities come together and agree that this is not the right place for a windfarm.
“A lot of hard work has gone into the campaign, but it has cost a considerable sum just to understand all the documents and we felt that we had no choice but to get Mr Robson to speak on our behalf.
“The planning system, as it stands at the moment, is skewed in favour of developers because they have the resources and expertise.
“In saying that, we’re grateful to senior planning officer Joe Nugent for giving a very fair assessment in his report that covered all the details.”
She added that many congratulation emails have already been sent to the group, along with pledges of further support if Wind Ventures appeals against the decision.
Adrian Butler from the company said: “I would like to thank the local people who supported our proposal and I am particularly grateful to those who attended the committee meeting on Tuesday evening.
“I remain of the opinion that this is an excellent site for the proposal. Moreover, the proposal would have brought real benefits for the local communities and I am therefore disappointed that planning permission was refused.
“As part of the proposal we were offering £1million worth of funding over its lifetime that could have been used to assist local projects and groups, but also as our supporters suggested, it could have been used to make a big difference to the lives of those in the wider community who are in fuel poverty.
“The turbines would have been on site for a relatively short period of time. However, the community benefit fund and our proposed site enhancements could have made a positive difference in people’s lives that would have lasted long after the turbines had been removed.”