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Planners to debate wind farm proposals for Sadberge
CONTROVERSIAL plans for a three-turbine wind farm in a rural area, which have attracted dozens of objections, will be debated next week.
Pure Renewable Energy wants to build the development on farmland at Newbiggin, between the villages of Sadberge and Bishopton, to the north of Darlington.
The proposals include three generators with a maximum height of 110m, as well as a wind measuring mast of up to 70m, a control building, 900sq metre compound area and access tracks.
Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee will meet to discuss the plans on Wednesday (October 24), with planning officers recommending the scheme be stopped in its tracks.
Planning officers feel the location and scale of the proposed development would have an “unacceptable impact” on the visual environment of nearby villages, particularly Little Stainton, Bishopton and Sadberge.
In May, the council granted permission for a separate development in Lambs Hill, Stillington.
A report to members of the planning committee states that the area has been identified as suitable for renewable area developments.
However, officers are concerned that the cumulative effect of the three turbines proposed in this development and the four in the already-approved Lambs Hill site would take the total number of masts in the area above the recommended maximum.
The council has received a total of 48 letters and e-mails objecting to the proposals, with residents raising dozens of issues including concerns about noise, possible interference with television and mobile signals, impact on wildlife and a feared dip in property values.
Two letters of support have been received, with the need to produce clean energy cited, along with the view that wind farms are a good way for farms to diversify, as well as the perceived attractiveness of the mast structures themselves.
Seven parish councils have registered their objections, including Bishopton, Great Stainton, Little Stainton, Stillington and Whitton and Sadberge.
Bosses at Durham Tees Valley Airport have also objected, highlighting a possible risk to air safety.
One of the turbines would affect one of the airport’s designated ‘safeguarded surfaces’, which are intended to protect air traffic during take-off and landing.
In a statement, the airport said: “It would also appear that the heights and locations of the three proposed turbines would impact on the airport radar systems and the safe operation of aircraft within the vicinity of the aerodrome.”
Discussions have taken place between airport chiefs and the applicant, with a view to having their objection lifted, but no agreement has yet been reached.
Officers say this objection is not in itself a reason to refuse planning permission, as the committee could impose a planning condition preventing the development from starting until such concerns had been addressed.
Councillor Brian Jones, ward member for Sadberge and Whessoe, wants to see the application rejected.
He said it would be “sheer lunacy” to allow it to proceed while aviation safety was still an issue.
The planning committee meets at 2.30pm, on Wednesday, at Darlington Town Hall.