ALARMS have been raised over moves which could pave the way for another wind farm in Northumberland – this time in a tranquil rural valley and close to the county’s unspoiled National Park.
Three local parish councils have objected to an application to site a 50m test mast at Charity Hall, Sharperton, in the Upper Coquet Valley west of Morpeth.
The site is about 3km from the eastern boundary of the Northumberland National Park, and just over 2km east of the hamlet of Sharperton.
Manchester-based planning consultants are seeking a 12-month permission for the meteorological mast, which will be used to test wind conditions and help assess the location as a site for wind farm development.
Next week county councillors are expected to approve the application, which has sparked objections from Hepple, Netherton and Harbottle Parish Councils, and objection letters from six local residents.
Hepple Parish Council says a wind farm on the site could have devastating effects on the region and the National Park.
Concerns have also been raised about a potential risk to low-flying aircraft and visual intrusion in an area of high landscape value.
Next week the council’s planning and environment committee will be recommended to grant temporary permission for the test mast, which would be less than a kilometre from the closest residential property, at Plainfield.
In a letter to the council, Sandra Shepherd, who lives in Sharperton, says: “No wind farms should be permitted in this area of high landscape value.
“The peace and tranquillity of rural Northumberland are major selling points in attracting tourists here. Please keep this beautiful place special.”
A report to the committee, by planning officer Judith Murphy, says the anemometer mast will be used to collect baseline data and help assess the location as a site for wind energy development.
She adds: “Any decision to grant a temporary planning permission for the mast would not prejudice any decision that the council may subsequently make in respect of a future application for the erection of wind turbines. There is no proposal to erect a wind farm at this location at the present time.”