Wind turbine plans on the horizon in Hartlepool

Proposed site of Wind Tubines, off Brenda Road, Hartlepool.
Proposed site of Wind Tubines, off Brenda Road, Hartlepool.

Controversial plans for onshore wind turbines near Seaton Carew are on the horizon again.

Hartlepool renewable energy company Seneca Global Energy is proposing to develop three turbines up to 99 metres high.

Seaton ward councillor Leisa Smith

Seaton ward councillor Leisa Smith

That would make them three metres (around nine feet) taller than Big Ben.

Seaton residents and campaigners who have fought against previous applications due to the visual and other potential impacts on residents are objecting to the new proposals.

The intended locations are two turbines on land to the west of Brenda Road near Tata Steel, and one on the northern side of Tofts Road West, south west of Seaton Carew.

The Energy Workshop has been instructed to carry out a scoping exercise to determine the extent of issues to be considered in an Environmental Impact Assessment ahead of putting in planning applications.

It has made a formal request to Hartlepool Borough Council as the planning authority for its views.

A document on behalf of the applicant states: “The proposed turbines would have a maximum tip height of 99m, and a maximum rotor diameter of 82m.

“The likely maximum installed capacity of each turbine would be 2.5 Megawatts (MW), giving the project a combined installed capacity of up to 7.5MW.

“The final choice of turbine type on the site will be informed by the results of a wind resource modeling exercise, noise and shadow flicker assessments and the formal assessment of predicted ecological and landscape and visual effects.”

Local Plan inspector David Spencer (centre)  during the project's examination stage.

Local Plan inspector David Spencer (centre) during the project's examination stage.

The locations are similar to where Seneca Global Energy previously planned to put three 114-metre (374 feet) turbines, which would have been the tallest in the England and Wales.

The letter by the applicants adds: “Following the adoption of the Hartlepool Local Plan in May 2018, all three proposed locations fall within an area identified by Policy CC4 in the newly adopted plan as being potentially suitable to accommodate up to four wind turbines with a tip height not exceeding 99m.

“The new proposal has, therefore, been designed to be fully compliant with this policy.”

Seaton Councillor Leisa Smith said residents she has spoken to are ‘totally against’ the locations of the proposed turbines, but not renewable energy.

She said: “It is too close to the housing estate. They are taller than any other building along that road.

“You are going to have noise and light flicker.

“We will continue to support the Seaton Carew Wind Turbine Action Association and the residents to ensure the council is aware putting turbines there is definitely not supported by the community.”

Monica Vaughan of the action association said: “We are disappointed that they are still trying to put wind turbines there.

“We are very much against it they are still close to people’s properties.

“The main issue is the noise risk.”

Formal planning applications for the turbines are expected to be made before the end of the year.

Seneca Global Energy has been approached for comment.

The history

In February 2015, Hartlepool Borough Council gave planning permission to Seneca Global Energy for onshore wind turbines up to 375 feet tall at Brenda Road West Industrial Estate, Graythorp Industrial Estate and Tofts Road West.

But members of the public against the plans appealed to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The following year the three applications were ruled invalid by Government agency The Planning Inspectorate which said the applicant failed to carry out enough public consultation before submitting the proposals to the council in 2014.

Land in Brenda Road was later set aside for up to four smaller wind turbines with a maximum height of 325 feet by the council in its new Local Plan which was adopted earlier this year.

Once again, the wind turbine action group and Seaton councillors fought the inclusion due to the potential impact on residents.

But government-appointed planning inspector David Spencer said the principle was acceptable given the area’s industrial nature and distance from Seaton.

He added the council’s policy includes criteria and conditions to mitigate against issues such as noise and shadow flicker.