A government planning inspector has thrown out a bid for a wind turbine on green belt in Northumberland, claiming it would have an unacceptable impact.
The inspector has dismissed the bid for a 67m turbine on a farm at Stamfordham, near Ponteland, following the application’s initial refusal by Northumberland County Council.
One man who objected to the scheme has welcomed the refusal saying it is “vital” to protect the green belt.
But the family which farms the land has spoken of its disappointment at the decision, claiming the generator would have powered hundreds of homes in the area and involved a community fund.
The application from Guy Green sought a single 500kW wind turbine on a 40m tower, 67m to tip, at Heatherslaw Farm.
Fourteen letters of objection were lodged with the county council.
Planning officers recommended approval but councillors voted to refuse. An appeal was lodged and the inspector who heard it has now dismissed the challenge.
His report states: “I conclude that the harm to the green belt through inappropriateness, loss of openness and conflict with green belt purposes, together with harm arising from landscape and visual impact, is not clearly outweighed by other considerations.
“Therefore the very special circumstances necessary to justify the proposal do not exist. The impact of the development on the green belt would be unacceptable.”
Objector James Lunn said: “This turbine is inappropriate in green belt and the harm to the green belt cannot be overcome.
“It is a stark reminder to anyone thinking about wind turbines within the green belt that they must demonstrate very special circumstances to be allowed.
“Protecting the green belt for everyone to enjoy is vital.”
A spokesman for Mr Green’s family voiced disappointment at the decision, claiming the development would have been “half a field or a field” from the green belt and that a neighbour’s turbine is closer to it.
He claimed the turbine would have powered up to 400 homes in the area and involved a community benefit fund.
The spokesman said alternative energy sources must be harnessed and claimed there is a risk that Northumberland will not meet its 2020 target for renewable energy generation.
He also said Mr Green may now have to consider off farm work in order to make end meets, claiming “times are hard” for farmers.
A county council spokeswoman said: “The inspector took the view that the impact on openness would be significant and also that the proposed development would conflict with one of the purposes of green belt designation.
“He gave considerable weight to the contribution the proposal would make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions but in the overall planning balance considered that this was not sufficient to outweigh the potential harm to the green belt and other impacts.”