HOTELIERS and civic society members are split over the impact of building nine turbines just a mile from Bridlington – a move some fear will ruin scenic views of Bridlington Bay and undermine the tourist trade.
Visitors to Fraisthorpe beach, popular with windsurfers and naturists, could find themselves right next to a wind farm standing 130m high – over five times the size of Flamborough Lighthouse – and which will be visible from miles around.
Bridlington and District Civic Society look set to lodge a formal objection, saying it will undermine attempts to draw in visitors to “Hockney country” and the coast-to-coast Way of the Roses, from Morecambe to Bridlington, which was launched last year.
The society says it is concerned about the number of applications coming in, forming a “collar” round the resort. Just across the main A165, there are proposals for another wind farm of five turbines, 125m high.
Maureen Bell, the society’s secretary, said: “We are in a cleft stick, we want to support green initiatives but on the other hand everyone seems to be going for broke trying to sell the East Riding as Hockney Country.
“Coming from Morecambe on the Way of the Roses brings cyclists down Woldgate, one of Hockney’s favourite subjects, and there is this wonderful view down towards the coast which will be so degraded.
“They are just going to completely undo all the efforts they are making to draw people in.”
Chairman Cyril Oliver said there needed to be a cap on the height and number of turbines in the area.
Mr Oliver said: “It is the height really that is causing the problem as far as Fraisthorpe is concerned but it is the proliferation in our area that is worrying us mainly.
“The ones that have gone to planning have been rejected, but then got agreement from the Government, which seems to have decided to steamroller them through.”
Mayor of Bridlington Cyril Marsburg said the town council was expected to be inundated by protesters at a planning meeting later this month. “We usually end up agreeing with them,” he said. He believes the turbines should be offshore and are not efficient enough: “I don’t want to see it being built – but I don’t think it will deter people from coming to Bridlington.”
However, Pete Davison, president of the Bridlington Tourism Association, said he thought wind farms were “the way forward”. He said: “We have just come back from Germany and there are turbines everywhere. I don’t think we are going to stop these things; big business will march on. We can protest but I don’t think it will do any good.
“I think people will just ignore them; it is like a lot of things – people just focus on what they want and what they are doing.
“The coastal views are beautiful and we don’t want to be spoiling it, but I know we need to be looking forward for a new source of energy.”
The Government is being put under pressure by 100 Conservative backbenchers – including East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight – asking for subsidies for onshore wind farms to be cut. A poll out yesterday showed local opposition to onshore windfarms had tripled since 2010.
Developers TCI Renewables said the farm at Manor Farm will supply around 11,800 households – a large proportion of the homes in Bridlington. “Indicative models” for the type of turbines to be used are Danish-built Vestas V100s.
The firm said onshore wind is “one of the most economical renewable energies, as it is both a tried and tested technology and construction and decommissioning are relatively quick in relation to other technologies”.
TURBINES OR NOT TURBINES?
Wind farm developer Airvolution Energy has submitted a “scoping” report for a further five 125m high turbines at Demming Farm, Fraisthorpe, just a few hundred yards from Manor Farm.
Waste Recycling Group has also applied to build two 125m high turbines at Carnaby.
Nearly 100 turbines have been given permission or are being built in the East Riding – and applications have been submitted for another 56.