NORTHUMBERLAND National Park is to lodge an objection over plans for a wind farm which it is claimed will harm views from two of the county's top landscape sites.
The bid for three turbines at Wingates Moor by British Telecommunications (BT) is close to the national park boundary.
The park authority’s development management committee considered that the 121m tall wind turbines would have a significant landscape impact on the character of the park.
Committee chairman Rachel Pearson said: “The authority strongly supports small-scale renewable energy initiatives and has only refused three planning applications for small- scale renewable energy projects since 2005.
“In the case of this proposal the committee decided to object to the application as it considered that the development would impact on the sense of openness and tranquillity of the national park for both residents and visitors and it is likely to alter their perception and enjoyment of this nationally recognised landscape.”
The final decision on the application will be made in March by Northumberland County Council.
It was felt that there would be a particularly negative impact on views from the Simonside Hills, Lordenshaws Iron Age hill fort overlooking Rothbury and the Coquet Valley which is also a prominent prehistoric rock art site, and Garleigh Moor.
“For frequent users of the footpath network in the Simonside Hills the views to the south east will be noticeable different as the vertical structures take shape,” the committee was told by planners.
Partial views of the wind turbine structures may also be possible from Hadrian’s Wall.
Sites with direct line of sight of the development within include Hedgehope Hill, Loundon Hill, Cochrane Pike, Simonside View Point, Lordenshaws/Garleigh Moor and Corsenside.
“The Simonside Hills are a key destination for national park visitors and are accessed by a network of rights of way and access land. The principal access route is that from Lordenshaw car park, heading west along the ridge to the summit cairn,” say planners.
“The scale and proximity of the Wingates Moor development will dwarf anything that is currently visible from the Simonside Hills.
“The proposed development will impact on the sense of openness and tranquility of the national park for both residents and visitors alike and is likely to alter their perception of enjoyment of this nationally recognise landscape.”