Turbines bid faces storm of protest

PLANS to put up wind turbines at a business park on the edge of the Pennines are set to be opposed by residents tomorrow, despite the applicant reducing the number of masts from three to two.

Originally, plans lodged with Barnsley Council showed three twin-bladed turbines at the Bullhouse Mill rural business complex, at Millhouse Green, which lies to the west of Penistone and Thurlstone.

But shortly after planners began to examine the documents, the owners of the complex said they had decided to reduce the number of masts after concerns were raised during consultation with locals.

However, the concession has not appeased those in opposition to the idea, with Barnsley Council receiving a total of 23 objections from people living nearby and representations from two local councillors.

The two masts will be placed in separate fields. A public footpath runs between the two sites which are located in what is described as "attractive and undulating open upland pasture".

Plans show that the overall height of the turbines, from the base of the mast to the tip of the blade will be 25m (82ft) and the blades will have a diameter of 13m (42ft). They will rotate at about 60rpm.

Planners admit that the site is green belt, but in a report to be examined by councillors at a meeting in Barnsley tomorrow, officers say the turbines would not "overburden" the surrounding landscape.

Most of the objections have been received from residents of Catshaw Lane, in Millhouse Green, whose homes lie around 200 yards from the base of the nearest turbine. The third, scrapped turbine would have been even closer.

One letter of objection says: "The proposal is within the national landscape of the South Pennine fringe and the strategy is to conserve and restore the landscape. This proposal conflicts with the strategy.

"The proposal will dominate views from every aspect of a number of properties and some of the gardens. The limited benefits are far outweighed by the costs in amenity for local residents and those who cross the land for walking, riding or fishing."

Other concerns cited by objectors include the possibility of so-called "ice fling" which may occur when blades become iced during cold weather and eventually throw the ice down on properties below.

Some residents also believe that the rotation of the blades will affect their television signal and others are concerned that the blades may even fail and break off leading, to a risk of injury.

The application has also been opposed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which has said it believes the turbines should be relocated closer to the buildings rather than in the fields nearby.

In a submission made to the council before the third turbine was removed from the scheme, the CPRE says: "The turbines should be located closer together and the number of turbines should be reduced.

"One of the turbines in particular has the greatest visual impact because it is a considerable distance from the industrial buildings. CPRE also consider that an alternative colour such as green or black may be more appropriate."

Despite the concerns, Barnsley Council planners are expected to advise members of the authority's planning regulatory board to grant permission.

Their report says: "The application has generated significant local interest. However, the proposal is considered acceptable in respect of residential amenity issues such as noise, shadow flicker and outlook.

"The green belt allocation of the site assumes resistance against inappropriate development. However, in this case, the visual amenities of the green belt are not considered to be significantly harmed."