CAMPAIGNERS battling to protect the open countryside around a Northumberland market town have pledged to fight the latest wind farm proposal threatening their rural landscape.
Renewables company Wind Ventures is seeking the green light to build four turbines – each 126.5m tall – on the former RAF airfield at Tranwell, south west of Morpeth.
The wind farm would be close to secluded Tranwell Woods, one of the region’s most exclusive and expensive housing estates, where many homes are priced around the £1m bracket and one went on the market for £4.5m last year.
Former residents have included Newcastle United stars Kevin Keegan, Shay Given and Damien Duff, and it is home to a number of business executives and entrepreneurs.
Reading-based Wind Ventures has applied for planning permission for the four turbines to Northumberland County Council – a year after being given permission to erect a wind-testing mast at the disused Second World War airfield.
Yesterday local pressure group Action for Rural Morpeth (ARM) – which was set up in response to a proposed test mast at Molesden, near Morpeth – said it will strongly oppose the Tranwell application.
ARM has widened its remit to campaign against the proliferation of potential wind developments in the town’s rural hinterland, and recently supported the campaign by local residents against Energiekontor UK’s proposed five-turbine wind farm at Fenrother.
That scheme was rejected by county councillors earlier this month, because of concerns over its effects on local people and the landscape, and cumulative impact.
Yesterday Lester Sher, who chairs ARM and lives at Molesden, said the same fears were valid at Tranwell.
He said: “Our two major concerns are the loss of amenity for residents living closest to the turbines, because of noise and visual impact, and the cumulative impact of built and consented wind farms in the area of Cramlington, Blyth, Lynemouth, Widdrington and Wingates. The fear is that Morpeth will become surrounded by turbines.
“The threshold for approving wind farms is a changing one, and there is undoubtedly an acceptance by the county council that they have consented a great deal of schemes.
“This area is the gateway to Northumberland and there is a real concern that it will be one of overwhelming visual impact from turbines.”
At the time when the Wind Ventures test mast was approved, some residents of Tranwell Woods claimed a wind farm development there would deter business executives from moving in and could have an impact on job creation.
They also felt turbines would spoil the character of the area and harm wildlife.
Wind Ventures says the wind farm would power about 6,000 homes and claims the disused airfield is a suitable site for such a development.
No one from the company was available to comment further yesterday.