TWO controversial bids for wind turbines on farmland look set to get the green light – despite sparking almost 150 objections between them.
An application for a 77.9m-high turbine at New Bewick Farm near Eglingham, north of Alnwick, has attracted objections from 96 people, as well as the Northumberland National Park Authority and Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
And almost 50 people have objected to a bid to build a turbine at East Coldcoats Farm near Ponteland, together with the town council and civic society, Northumbria Police and the CPRE.
Next week county council planning officials will recommend both turbines should get the go-ahead.
Both applications are being handled by Alnwick-based agent George F White, at New Bewick on behalf of Harehope Estate owner John Wrangham and at Ponteland for Green Energy Ponteland Ltd.
The New Bewick turbine is opposed by local pressure group Save Northumberland’s Environment (SANE), as well as local people.
An objection was made by the National Park Authority because of the potential visual impact on views.
Last week consultants commissioned by SANE produced a report which claimed photomontages submitted – intended to show what the turbine will look like – were misleading.
The claims were disputed by George F White, who said the images were produced independently by a highly-experienced consultancy.
The East Coldcoats Farm turbine became embroiled in more controversy after it was revealed it is planned on land owned by Coun Peter Jackson, the leader of the opposition Conservative group on the county council, and his wife Val.
He has refused to say whether he supports the application or would allow the turbine to be built on his land.
A report to next week’s planning and environment committee says officers don’t feel that either turbine will have a significant impact on the local landscape or views. They say the New Bewick machine will not harm the “special qualities of the National Park” and the Ponteland turbine will be viewed in association with electricity pylons and other buildings.
In both cases they conclude that ”on balance” the benefits of sustainable renewable energy are sufficient to outweigh any impacts on the landscape.