A RACECOURSE boss last night defended plans for wind turbine energy as “essential” for the course’s future.
Charles Enderby, chief executive of Hexham Racecourse, said there was no alternative to the turbines in the face of a looming six-figure drop in Levy Board income.
Opposition to proposals for two 150ft turbines on the picturesque hilltop course at Hexham is growing ahead of an application going before county planners.
John Barker of Whitfield, who is leading early objections, said: “This is an elevated site in an area of high landscape value very close to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty boundary.
“There is a very powerful principle at stake here because if permission for this scheme is given ‘on-the-nod’, then developers will feel they can put their turbines simply anywhere.”
Mr Barker is urging “anyone and everyone” to join him in opposition, and pleading with the racecourse to explore alternatives such as solar panels.
But Mr Enderby insisted: “We have explored everything, and borne these things in mind, but it is essential to have wind turbine energy – we could not put solar panels on the racecourse.
“The reason it is essential is that income from the Horse Racing Levy Board will decline considerably this year and next – in the region of £150,000 to £200,000. In company with all other racecourses, we are having to look at alternative forms of income.