The Northumberland County Council (UK) is preparing to grant planning permission
for the development of a self-contained eco-holiday complex to be located in a rural region of the county. The high-profile park and equestrian center is expected to attract high-spending tourists, create numerous direct and indirect jobs, and provide a vital revenue stream for the area. The complex will be sited on sixteen acres of fields surrounding the original Waterfalls farmhouse with open countryside visible in all directions.
But not all parties support the development.
Earlier this year, Wind Prospect Developments formerly objected to the proposed eco-friendly holiday center. The energy company, which recently received approval to erect eighteen turbines at Green Rigg Fell, claimed the holiday center application failed to properly assess the impact of the tourist site on its proposed 36 megawatt wind farm. The nearest turbine will be located approximately 2500 feet (780 meters) from the existing farmhouse.
This map shows the area surrounding the Waterfalls farmhouse and the proximity of the turbines to the building and adjacent fields slated for development.
Last week, attorneys for Wind Prospect Developments filed a letter with the Northumberland County Council Planning Department. In it they state:
The [Waterfalls] applicant's noise figures are derived from Wind Prospect's own noise assessment of the Green Rigg turbines. As such the noise levels were assessed at Waterfalls Farm, which is significantly further away from the Green Rigg wind farm than the proposed development. As a result, the noise levels at the proposed development are likely to be higher than the predicted levels and will require a much larger attenuation than the proposed level.
The developer then makes the remarkable admission that an operating wind facility -- even if in compliance with existing noise standards -- is likely to trigger problems for people nearby, particularly those not restricted to a dwelling specially insulated from turbine noise.
"Noise from the permitted wind energy development will be very likely to provoke complaints, and this will place both the Environmental Health department and the wind farm operator in an impossible position: a complaint about noise could be found to be justified, and construed as a noise nuisance, even though the wind farm was operating lawfully within the constraints of its planned conditions."
They concede that visitors to the holiday center should be "reasonably expected to sit outside to enjoy the relative peace and quiet of the countryside" but any accommodation (i.e. mitigation) for turbine noise will have no effect on outdoor noise levels.
Turbine noise complaints are not new to Wind Prospect Developments. Wind Prospect is the same developer who erected the eight turbines (16 megawatts) at Deeping St Nicholas Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom. Turbines at this project are sited within 3200 feet of Jane and Julian Davis's farm. The Davis' abandoned their home due to turbine noise and recently filed a civil complaint with the United Kingdom judicial court.
 Editor's note: The proposed holiday center is built on the same parcels that comprise the Waterfalls farm ( see: property plans )