Bradley turbine plan gets go-ahead

Ward councillor Mark Wheeler

Ward councillor Mark Wheeler

First published in News Craven Herald: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

Plans to site a single 34m high wind turbine in Low Bradley have been approved – despite claims the area is getting a wind farm by stealth.

Ward councillor Mark Wheeler (Lib Dem) urged Craven District Council’s planning committee to turn down the application by Peter Thornton for Smoulden Farm in Jacksons Lane.

He said the impact on the landscape would outweigh the contribution to renewable-energy targets and called for an assessment to be carried out by the council of the cumulative impact of other turbines in the area.

“I have consistently questioned the council’s lack of a coherent policy considering the cumulative effects of wind turbine development in any particular area,” he told the committee in written comments.

“There are a number of approved turbines just over the border in Silsden, and taken with the existing turbine at Sirebank House and the approval of one at Sirebank Farm, the view travelling from Bradley to Draughton is of one turbine after another.”

And he claimed the additional one at Smoulden Farm would be “wind farm by stealth”.

The committee also heard from parish councillor David Cohn who pointed out that Smoulden Farm was not a working farm, but residential properties, and the turbine would be a visual intrusion.

He also said that Bradford Council had refused permission for a smaller turbine just across the border because of its impact on the countryside.

But the committee was told that the site already had permission for a wind turbine, although it was for one half the height.

The applicant’s agent told councillors that the approved scheme was for an obsolete turbine and the new scheme was for a turbine which was the quietest and most efficient on the market.

Coun Robert Heseltine (Ind) said national policy towards wind energy was “misguided” and needed to be reassessed.

“We will have hundreds across Craven in the next few years unless the national policy is addressed,” he said.

But Coun Ken Hart (Ind) said although he did not like turbines, he thought the site was one of the best, and Coun Alan Sutcliffe (Cons) added his support on the grounds there was previous approval on the land and because the nearest residential property was 250 metres away.

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