Plans to build Northumberland wind farm withdrawn

PLANS to build a wind farm in Northumberland have been withdrawn - to the delight of residents.

Reg Watson and Tamsin Faiers, of Ancroft Southmoor

PLANS to build a wind farm in Northumberland have been withdrawn - to the delight of residents.

E.ON Climate and Renewables UK yesterday said it was pulling the plug on its planning application for eight 115m (377ft) turbines at West Ancroft, near Berwick.

The developer has decided to shelve its scheme after the Government’s decision to refuse plans for turbines at neighbouring Moorsyde earlier this year.

The news was last night welcomed by people living near the site, who said the scheme had been a blight on their lives and hoped it would not return.

The application was first submitted to Northumberland County Council in April last year.

Local residents rallied against it, forming the West Ancroft Community Association (WACA), claiming the turbines would be an eyesore in open countryside near to the Cheviot hills and that they were too close to homes.

The project was hit by a series of blunders including the Advertising Standards Authority upholding two complaints against the developer over misleading images, and the company being accused of seeking to mislead councillors by putting a turbine marker further from homes on a site visit.

In January, the bid for turbines at neighbouring Moorsyde was rejected owing to its proximity to the Cheviots and because the turbines would be too noisy so close to homes.

Objectors to West Ancroft at the time claimed that both arguments applied even more to that scheme, and it should therefore not be pursued.

In May, residents were further angered when E.ON won planning permission to put up a wind monitoring mast on the site, claiming the information it would gather should have been obtained by the developer before it submitted the wind farm proposal.

The company sent a letter to the county council on Tuesday withdrawing its application.

Yesterday, an E.ON spokesperson said: “After carefully reviewing plans for our proposed West Ancroft wind farm following a recent public inquiry into nearby wind farm proposals, we have decided to withdraw our current planning application for an eight turbine scheme.

“We are now looking at the possibility of redesigning the project as a smaller development.”

The spokesperson confirmed the refusal of the Moorsyde scheme so close to the site had prompted the withdrawal. She said the redesign would look at smaller and fewer turbines and added that the mast would not be erected for the time being.

WACA member Tamsin Faiers, 37, whose farm home is 700m (765yds) from the site, was thrilled by the withdrawal. She said: “We are obviously delighted that E.ON, however belatedly, have taken note of the Secretary of State’s refusal of the adjacent Moorsyde application and they have recognised the total unsuitability of this site for a wind farm.

“We do note that they have suggested they will attempt to come back with a smaller scheme which we would have to judge on its merits should such a scheme be proposed.

“However, we would fervently hope that such a scheme was not proposed and that E.ON did not persist in blighting the lives of the local community and wasting the valuable resources of the council.”

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