PLANS to install a 120-foot wind turbine at a popular West Craven farm attraction have been rejected by councillors.

The DC21 Group – wind turbine specialists based in Huddersfield – were seeking permission to put up the 85kw and 36.6-metre wind turbine at Thornton Hall Farm. Plans include installing a foundation, access road and cabling.

The proposed site for the turbine was on land used for farming and Thornton Hall Farm Country Park, an award-winning farm visitors centre.

But it was unanimously rejected by members of the West Craven Area Committee, who followed the advice of planners and the wishes of many residents.

A total of 16 out of 19 neighbours notified about the proposal objected to the plans for a variety of reasons. Earby Town Council and Craven District Council, along with Pendle Council, were amongst the other objectors, with the effect on visual impact summing up much of the opposition to the application.

Earby Town Council wrote: "This is situated at the gateway to the area. To have such a large intrusive item as the first thing visitors and residents see is clearly detrimental to all concerned, being in such a prominent position near the highway."

After making a site visit, Earby councillor Mike Goulthorp said: "It was clear to us, as you drive out of Earby going towards Skipton, it was going to dominate the skyline.

"What struck me was how close it would have been to Ghyll Church and St Mary's Church.

"It would have been between two Grade I listed buildings, and certainly would have an effect on these two heritage assets."

St Mary le Ghyll Church at Barnoldswick was built in about 1160 by monks from Fountains Abbey.

St Mary's Church in Thornton, which features the only holy well in the diocese, was originally built as a Saxon 'church' for the village.

"These are two of the finest churches in the area and they want to put a monstrosity like this up," added Cllr Goulthorp. "The whole area is quite historic and is like an oasis.

"It would have been visible from the footpaths around Barnoldswick and Earby. It's not a good place to put it."

Pendle Council officers proposed refusing the plan because it did not have local backing.

"Unless there is community support for a wind turbine, it shouldn't be approved," said Neil Watson, Pendle Council's planning and building manager. "This is a legitimate reason for refusal."