DCSIMG

Turbines ‘could blot Johnners’ favourite landscape’

Michael Verity and Dorothy and Malcolm Harris, whose houses will be the closest to the Kearby wind turbine.

Michael Verity and Dorothy and Malcolm Harris, whose houses will be the closest to the Kearby wind turbine.

It is said to have been one of cricket commentator Brian Johnston’s favourite views in Yorkshire, which he visited whenever he came to a Headingley test match.

But fears are growing that the countryside close to some of the region’s most sought-after villages could be placed in jeopardy with controversial plans for wind turbines.

Campaigners say they are concerned about the impact the development would have on views from Harewood Castle, in the grounds of Harewood House, near Leeds, and will be contacting English Heritage about the proposals.

Residents in Kearby, Kirkby Overblow, Sicklinghall and the surrounding areas are stepping up their fight against the plans to build two giant wind turbines which they claim will blight one of the best views in Yorkshire.

More than 300 objections have been lodged with Harrogate Borough Council in relation to the two proposed wind turbines in the picturesque Lower Wharfe Valley, home to Yorkshire’s red kite breeding programme which is centred on the Harewood estate.

Residents and campaigners say they accept their protests will be viewed as ‘Nimbyism’ but believe if they do not speak up now it will be too late to preserve the landscape.

Linda Potter, chairman of the Harrogate and District branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), speaking about the turbines yesterday said: “The thing is that they are an industrial object in a natural setting. There’s the castle at Harewood and that’s very elevated up there and you would be looking at these turbines.”

She said the CPRE is also concerned there appears to be less restrictions when developers wish to put up a single turbine, as opposed to a wind farm.

If planning permission is granted, the tallest of the two, measuring 153ft will be placed at Sicklinghall.

The second, slightly shorter at 113ft, would stand close to the highest point of the ridge at Kearby.

Last night, Earthmill, wind turbine suppliers, said the project would be on a small-scale and denied the turbines would harm the local landscape. The company said they would connect directly to farms and help to reduce their energy bills.

The campaigners have, however, already won the support of Selby MP, Nigel Adams, and the CPRE in their fight to try to halt the proposals.

The MP, whose constituency covers this area, has written to support the local parish councils in their objections. He is also encouraging residents to “consider these applications carefully” and said if people wish to object, they should do so as soon as possible.

A spokesman for the campaigners, Guy Townsend, said: “Residents are fighting to help protect the Lower Wharfe Valley, arguably the most beautiful of the Lower Dales.

“This area forms a remarkably well-preserved green wedge between Leeds and Harrogate, and is properly designated as green belt.

“The huge number of objections already logged on Harrogate Borough Council’s website demonstrate the level of local pride in the fabulous countryside around where we live, and the strong desire to look after it.

“It’s not a case of ‘not in our backyard’ but fighting to protect our back yard.

“If these two applications are given the go-ahead then we 
fear it will open the floodgates 
to many more. Far from protecting the environment, 
they will do irrevocable harm to it.”

Mr Townsend added that in addition to the visual impact, there is the possible threat they would pose to wildlife, in particular the thriving red kite colony, bats and migrating geese.

The proposals, which are due to be debated by councillors at a later date, would see single wind turbines built at farms at Sicklinghall and also at Kirkby Lane, Kearby if members give the proposals the green light at a later date.

Last night Steve Milner, managing director of Earthmill, which is involved in the applications, said: “Unfortunately small scale projects like this one often get confused with the commercial scale projects which rarely benefit the local community and have a much greater impact on a widespread area.

“These turbines will be owned by local farms and the energy produced by the turbines will connect directly to the farms which will significantly reduce their energy bills.

“Many farmers are looking at ways to diversify and generate extra income to support their business for future generations.

“These small turbines are a cost-effective way of doing so without negatively impacting local landscape.”

joanne.ginley@ypn.co.uk

 

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