Government planning chief opens door to new wind turbines in Hartlepool

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Campaigners against potential wind turbines near Seaton Carew say they are disappointed after a government appointed inspector opened the door to them.

Proposals by Hartlepool Borough Council to earmark land on Brenda Road, Hartlepool, in their new Local Plan for up to four new onshore turbines at a maximum height of 325ft have been supported.

Local Plan inspector David Spencer (centre) hears submissions from Hartlepool Borough Council officers (left) and wind turbine objectors (right).

Local Plan inspector David Spencer (centre) hears submissions from Hartlepool Borough Council officers (left) and wind turbine objectors (right).

A final report by planning inspector David Spencer, appointed to examine the soundness of the 15-year town planning blueprint, says the site is suitable.

The location was opposed by the Seaton Carew Wind Turbine Action Association and by Seaton ward councillor James Black due to the visual impact close to homes and potential noise.

But any wind turbine proposals would require planning permission and have to take residents’ views into account.

Councillor Black said: “It’s disappointing despite the efforts of the Seaton Carew Wind Turbine Action Group and myself, that the Planning Inspector has decided to allow the inclusion of Policy CC4 in the local plan.

“However what the Inspector has done is reiterate specific criteria that must be taken into account for any planning application to be a success.

“Residents can also be assured that the planning committee have to ‘on balance’ ensure that any wind turbine applications have the backing of the local community, and I would hope this alone would provide enough evidence not to site the wind turbines in this area.”

Mr Spencer the land is in an industrial area where pylons, the power station and various structures at Port Able Seaton and the Huntsman Tioxide plant are visible.

He said: “In landscape terms I find the identified area at Brenda Road to be justified.”
He accepted the turbines would be visible including from homes, but said it would be from a distance reducing the impact.

Mr Spencer added the turbine policy includes criteria to take noise and flicker issues into account.

He added: “Brenda Road and its immediate environs are not tranquil areas given the industrial activity.”

The council submitted that the scale of the turbines allowed under the policy was significantly different to previous proposals.

Three 574ft-high onshore turbines at Graythorp Industrial Estate, Brenda Road West Industrial Estate and Tofts Road West were overturned on appeal due to lack of public consultation.

Monica Vaughan, of the Seaton Carew Wind Turbine Action Association, added: “I’m disappointed with the result from the inspector.

“We will have to keep a watching brief for any plans that come through and take a view at that time as to what is proposed and what the impact will be on Seaton.

“Speaking to some of the people who were against the turbines they are pretty upset.

“I don’t think they would get the community backing they are supposed to have.”