Uproar at plans to build wind turbines at Elsdon

PLANS are in the offing for a wind farm close to an historic Northumberland landmark and on the boundary of a national park.

Winter's Gibbet

PLANS are in the offing for a wind farm close to an historic Northumberland landmark and on the boundary of a national park.

Wind company Air Farmers Ltd is working on a scheme for nine turbines, 125m high, at Elsdon, close to the Grade II listed Winter’s Gibbet and directly beside the boundary of Northumberland National Park and the A696.

The gibbet, said to be around 1km from the turbine site, is a gallows type structure from which a wooden head hangs.

It recalls the hanging of a man and two women in the later 18th century for murder, with the man’s body supposedly having been left to rot at the site.

Details of the scheme first emerged at a meeting of Elsdon Parish Council, which was attended by planning consultant Bob Morgan on behalf of Air Farmers.

The meeting was told a scoping report for the development – which would be known as Middle Hill Renewables Ltd – is to be submitted to Northumberland County Council within the next week.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the county council and Northumberland National Park Authority.

Parish chairman Keith Maddison said his council had yet to take a view on the application, which he said had come as “a bit of a surprise”.

He said the parish was in the process of gauging local residents’ views and that it would discuss the project at its next meeting in September.

But Coun Maddison voiced his own reservations, citing doubts about the efficiency of turbines and concerns about visual impact, noise pollution and effect on residents – with “quite a few people” said to live close to the site and claims one turbine would be within 800m of a home, and the subsequent impact on value of properties.

“I do not think wind turbines are the way forward, (there are) too many issues surrounding them.

“I think it would be more productive to provide every roof in the UK with solar panels.” He also spoke of the importance of Winter’s Gibbet.

“It is the openness of the space up there, we think it is quite special.”

Coun Maddison claimed the proposal would divide local opinion.

He added: “It will concern some people. It will concern the people who live near to what is being proposed. These things trigger off different reactions.

“There is going to be a wide variety of views, some people will want it for what we can get out of it. Other people will be indifferent.”

County councillor Steven Bridgett, whose ward covers Elsdon, said: “I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

“The proposal is to build these colossal turbines within metres of both the Winter’s Gibbet which is grade listed and within metres of the national park boundary.”

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “We are aware of a possible proposal by Air Farmers Ltd.

“However, we have not yet received any formal application or scoping report from them.”

Air Farmers and Mr Morgan were unavailable for comment last night.

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