RESIDENTS and councillors have met to outline their concerns about a proposed wind farm.
Durham County Council representative for Blackhall, Councillor Rob Crute, chaired a meeting that aimed to ensure a “properly co-ordinated” community response to a planning application for a five-turbine wind farm in Sheraton, off the A19, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.
Coun Crute said the main concerns of the group included visual impact as it was considered the surrounding countryside is an Area of High Landscape Value (AHLV) and cumulative impact when considered in the context of planned and existing neighbouring windfarm sites.
Other concerns include the effect on wildlife, aviation radar safety concerns, noise and shadow flicker and concerns over the impact of construction on a site of archaeological significance.
The meeting, held at Blackhall Resource Centre, was attended by Castle Eden Residents’ Association members and representatives of the three affected parish councils – Monk Hesleden, Castle Eden and Hutton Henry.
Also at the meeting were a representative from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Durham County Council’s director of regeneration and economic and regeneration development Ian Thompson and Grant Folley, the council’s planning case officer.
Coun Crute said: “The main reason I convened the meeting, in conjunction with the Castle Eden residents, was to ensure that any community response or campaign related to the application was properly co-ordinated.
“It was clear from the outset that there was unanimous community opposition to the application.
“It was further agreed that any future campaign should include full community involvement to ensure public awareness of the potential impact of the wind farm proposal on our communities.”
The application is expected to reach county council planning committee stage in May or June.
The group will meet again in two weeks to consider progress in relation to submissions to the planning section of statutory consultees, and to consider options in developing the campaign in the community.
The windfarm is being proposed by EDF Energy Renewables, which has submitted plans to Durham County Council and to Hartlepool Borough Council as one of the 350ft structures would be situated in the town’s Hart ward.
EDF previously said the firm had carried out “considerable local consultation” and a comprehensive environmental impact study and that the majority of residents who attended public exhibitions last year had expressed their support.