CONTROVERSIAL plans to build three 328ft (100 metre) high wind turbines at Brightenber Hill, near Gargrave, have been thrown out by the Secretary of State in charge of planning.

Greg Clark said both the owners of Ash Tree Farm and Haugh Farm would suffer "unacceptable harm" to their living conditions and "very significant" visual impact.

The occupiers of New Farm would also suffer "significant visual impact", although not too severe to render the property an unattractive place to live.

Mr Clark further concurred with the planning inspector, who carried out last June's public hearing, that the Energie Kontor scheme would harm the setting of listed Gledstone Hall, its park and garden.

He did not believe, however, that it would harm the setting of the also listed Ingthorpe Grange, or the operations of Craven Country Ride at Coniston Cold.

Ward councillor Alan Sutcliffe (Cons), vice-chairman of Craven District Council's planning committee, said the decision could mean the end of any wind farm being built in Craven.

"The dismissal of this appeal is good news, at the end of a very long road, for residents of Gargrave and Malhamdale," he said.

"It is a victory for common sense and the ethos of the Localism Bill, and the precedent it establishes will ensure any future wind farm proposal in the Dales will have little chance of success."

Chris Emmett, spokesman for Friends of Craven Landscape (FoCL), said: “We are delighted the Secretary of State for Communities has listened to the people most affected by the proposed wind farm at Brightenber Hill.

"During the past eight years, the local planning committee has refused planning permission twice, it has been turned down three times on appeal and now the Secretary of State for Communities has said 'no'. We hope Energie Kontor will finally realise Brightenber Hill is the wrong place to build a wind farm.”

Skipton MP Julian Smith, who has always opposed the scheme, said he was delighted by the decision.

He added: “I pay tribute to the many people in my constituency, who have campaigned so hard for so long on this issue.

"I hope there is now a line drawn under this issue and that people can move on knowing the beautiful land is protected.”

Energie Kontor first revealed plans for a wind farm at Brightenber Hill more than eight years ago. Its first plans, for 11 almost 400ft-high turbines, were to have supplied enough energy for half of all homes in Craven and to have met Government targets for renewable energy.

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