Residents angered by wind turbine plans in School Aycliffe

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PLANS to erect a wind turbine close to a housing estate have been met with anger from its residents.

If approved by Durham County Council, a 34.4m tall wind turbine will be erected on the outskirts of School Aycliffe, near Darlington.

Although the wind turbine would sit within Durham County Council’s jurisdiction, the closest housing estate to it is The Chestnuts in School Aycliffe, which lies within Darlington.

The proposals now face strong opposition from residents of The Chestnuts, who feel they have not been properly consulted.

Parish councillor Gary Blenkinsopp believes many householders were left ignorant of the plans because they fell within Durham boundaries and weren’t publicised in the neighbouring Darlington area.

Speaking at a parish council meeting, he said: “The first I heard of it was when a resident knocked on my door and asked me to sign a petition – like most of the estate I had no idea about it before then.”

Coun Blenkinsopp raised concerns around the proximity of the turbine to houses, visual impact and potential noise pollution – issues echoed in several letters of objection submitted to Durham County Council.

One letter said: “I believe until issues surrounding safety to local residents, set-back distances, noise pollution and other issues have been resolved beyond question, it will be unreasonable to grant this application and impose a potentially unhealthy and unsafe environment on the residents of School Aycliffe and the surrounding areas.”

The planning documents, submitted by Urban Wind Ltd, state: “It is not considered that the amenity of the local community will be negatively affected to a significant degree by the installation of a single small scale wind turbine on land off School Aycliffe Lane.

“...it is not anticipated that there will be any detrimental noise impact to residential properties not financially involved.

“It is considered that while there will inevitably be a degree of visual impact due to the unavoidable stature of any wind energy development, the limited scale of the turbine combined with the screening afforded by the surrounding area and the proximity of the site to built development ensures that the visual impact of and impact to the landscape character from the proposal will be at a local and acceptable level.”

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