Councillors give Colne wind turbine plans the thumbs down

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TWO separate applications for wind turbines in Colne sparked a huge debate at the latest Colne and District Committee meeting.

A decision was made by the Pendle Council committee to reject two applications from DC21 Ltd for five wind turbines in the area, after the majority of councillors felt they would be a “blight on the landscape”.

The proposals will now be reconsidered by the council’s Development Management Committee.

The first application was for two 50kw turbines, with hub heights of 24.6m and overall heights of 34.2m, at Harwes Farm in Black Lane Ends.

The second application was for three 50kw turbines, with hub heights of 24.5m and overall heights of 34.2m, at Jerusalem Farm in Skipton Old Road. For most councillors, both plans needed to be dealt with in a similar vein, to highlight overall concerns, such as the impact the wind turbines would have on factors such as tourism and wildlife. However, some felt that the proposals needed to be dealt with separately.

Coun. Paul White and Coun. Joe Cooney, who had both visited the sites prior to the meeting, felt that wind turbines at Jerusalem Farm would have a far more detrimental visual impact than those at Harwes Farm.

Coun. White, who admitted he “may not agree with the principles of wind energy”, said: “Part of the reason why these two applications are different is the fact that the implications both of them would have would be quite different.

“Feelings are running very high in the area at the moment, and quite a lot of residents have shown their support for the wind turbines.

“At Harwes Farm, I now realise how little impact these wind turbines are likely to have. It is not going to affect other residential properties, or the character of the landscape.

“At Jerusalem Farm, the turbines would be able to be seen for miles around.”

And Coun. Joe Cooney added: “I have tried to find a case to reject the first application, and I honestly don’t think there is one.

“The wind turbines from the second application would be in a much more open area. You can see the entire of Colne from that site.”

But despite their arguments, the committee decided that neither application should be given the green light.

Coun. Ann Kerrigan said: “If we put wind turbines all over our beautiful moors we are going to destroy some of our wildlife and we are going to destroy the town’s potential as a tourist area.

“We do need other ways of sustainable energy, but I don’t think wind turbines are the way ahead.

“They only have a short life expectancy, and then they have to be dismantled. It’s a massive piece of industrial machinery, and I think that it is destructive.”

Coun. Tony Greaves said: “I think we should be doing everything possible to stop the encroachment of what I think are alien structures into an area of beautiful countryside.”

Coun. Smith Benson said: “We live in a beautiful area. If we have to have them, why can’t we put them in the sea? Why do we have to have a blight on the landscape?”

Following the meeting, which was also attended by local residents, Coun. White said: “We have to be realistic. I had to do the right thing rather than the popular thing on this occasion. In fact this is the first wind turbine application I have supported.

“I don’t want turbines in Pendle, but we have to have them. That is a fact.”