COUNCILLORS are being asked to refuse controversial plans for nine massive turbines which opponents claim will ruin “the most beautiful bay in Yorkshire.”
Developers TCI Renewables want to build the turbines close to Fraisthorpe beach, near Bridlington, which will stand 62ft higher than the top of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.
The beach - famous for its naturists - featured in the recent national Visit England TV holiday campaign where Harry Potter star Rupert Grint promoted the town’s windsurfing potential as better than Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach.
There are already 12 wind turbines visible from Fraisthorpe, three miles away at Lissett, and some residents are concerned they are going to end up surrounded.
Last month the Yorkshire Post revealed that developers, attracted by East Yorkshire’s wide open spaces and relatively cheap land, have made 25 applications for large onshore developments since 2002.
The developers have already appealed on the basis of “non determination” - East Riding Council not making a decision within the statutory time limit. The appeal will be heard at Bridlington Town Hall on November 27.
However at a meeting next Thursday, councillors will be asked to endorse a recommendation of refusal by planning officers, who say the turbines will have a “direct, negative physical effect” on an area extending from Ulrome in the south and the Flamborough Headland Heritage Coast in the north.
Their report says some of the best views are from the Heritage Coast, across the sweeping expanse of the bay “which are generally devoid of tall structures.”
It adds: “It is clear that local residents in substantial numbers, attach significant weight to the relatively unspoilt nature of this landscape.”
Objectors include 365 people who wrote letters to the council, two parish councils, Bridlington Town Council, the Ramblers, and English Heritage, which is concerned about the effect on the setting of Burton Agnes Hall, an Elizabethan stately home, seven miles away. Comments included: “The view from Bridlington will become mechanical and industrial rather than natural” and “Bridlington would lose its seaside charm and become industrial.”
Just two people wrote in support.
East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight, who has called for a moratorium on new wind turbines after it emerged that East Yorkshire has had the highest number of planning applications for large onshore wind farms in the past decade, has objected, as has the Ministry of Defence which says the turbines would cause “unacceptable interference” with the radar system at Staxton Wold.
Campaigner and local resident David Hinde said: “I hope the Planning Inspector will block this proposal which hundreds of people have objected to. East Riding Council met its Renewables Target until 2020 in 2009 - now is the time to stop this madness destroying our landscape.”
Supporters say as well as decreasing reliance on volatile overseas fuel supplies, wind farms also create green jobs.
TCI Renewables has said the scheme will supply “almost all” the homes in Bridlington and would bring economic benefits to the area, with £56,000 going into a community fund every year for 25 years.
Some of the money could go into a rebate on energy bills for those living closest to the wind farm. The Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint from company in July over a misleading advertisement taken out by opponents.
East Riding Council said TCI’s application was received in February, with a determination deadline of May 11. It added: “The council requested further information from the developer with regards to the turbine’s impact on the landscape and was assessing this information when the developer decided to appeal on the grounds of non-determination.”