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Turbine project at Brightenbar Hill, near Gargrave, turned down for second time
Wind farm company EnergieKontor is considering whether to appeal against a second refusal to build near Gargrave .
Earlier this month, the company’s plans for three, 100 metre high turbines at Brightenber Hill were refused permission against officer recommendation by Craven District Council.
Every member of the committee, with the exception of chairman, Richard Welch, who abstained, agreed that the application would have an unacceptable impact on the living conditions of the occupants of Ash Tree Farm.
The refusal was even supported by Coun Stephen Place, who had voted to approve an earlier scheme for five turbines, but considered the energy produced by just three turbines did not outweigh the damage to the landscape.
EnergieKontor had been hoping for an approval because it believed by removing the two closest turbines to the farm, objections to the application would be removed.
Justin Reid, project manager for EnergieKontor, told the planning meeting at Gargrave Village Hall that there had been no serious steps by the council towards its renewable energy target since the approval of Chelker Reservoir turbines in 1992.
He said the site was suitable for a wind farm and the landscape was “sufficiently robust” to absorb the structures.
Mr Reid dismissed fears that the turbines would frighten horses using both the nearby bridlepath and Craven Country Ride because they would not just appear suddenly but over a period of time.
He further pointed out that there had been more than 1,000 individual letters of support towards the project - a number that was unprecedented.
He said the library in Gargrave would benefit from a community grant fund set up by the company and the council itself would receive more than £2 million in business rates over the lifetime of the wind farm.
Planning officer Roger France pointed out to councillors that the community fund should not be taken into account when making a decision as it did not make the application acceptable or otherwise.
In addition to Mr Reid, Gargrave resident Duncan Faulkner said he would not feel blighted by the turbines, but delighted as he found them to be “graceful structures”.
He said he had tried to imagine what it would be like to live as close to the turbines as the occupants of Ash Tree Farm and had concluded that he would not find it a problem.
Friends had wondered what all the fuss was about and he urged the council to do something positive and approve the application.
Professor Glyn Turton told councillors that he had spoken in support four years ago and his support had increased in the meantime.
He dismissed claims that the landscape would become industrial and compared the turbines to the coming of the railways and canals.
During a break in the meeting, Mr Reid said a decision on whether or not to appeal would be considered after looking at the council’s reasons for refusal.
The company has six months to decide whether or not to appeal for a second time to the Planning Inspectorate.