Not naturally beautiful?
You can judge this for yourself!
We were both shocked and amazed when we recently attended a planning meeting to hear the small village of Stanghow, on the edge of the North York Moors described as a villlage that isn’t classified as a place of natural beauty and that it would therefore be acceptable to grant a planning application to erect a 219ft wind turbine which would be seen for miles around.
Recent planning applications, which have been approved by council officers yet rejected by the planning committee, imply that East Cleveland areas such as Kiltonthorpe, Beacon Moor, Saltburn, Marske and more recently Guisborough are also areas which may not be beautiful enough to stop these monstrosities being built there.
Do these people go round with their eyes closed and are unable to see the natural beauty of every single town and village in the East Cleveland area?
We are not against renewable energy, we are not against wind turbines, but such applications would only line the pockets of the developers who would get their fat subsidies from the government, give the owner of the land an annual income for 25 years, yet cause a blot on the landscape for the communities that have to live with them each and every day.
As Councillor Valerie Halton said at the meeting: “Granting a single application would result in an army of them all over.”
If the government gets it way they are going to ease planning restrictions on green belt areas, so no one is safe. Make your voice heard and let your councillors know how you feel, get out and support your neighbours, because the next one could be in your back yard.
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Not in our beautiful area
It was great to see people come from all areas of the Borough to support the Stanghow residents in their fight to stop the erection of a 219 ft wind turbine.
At the recent planning meeting one councillor commented: “There are about 200 people out there.” Such was the support of the objectors who turned out in their numbers.
Lockwood Councillor Steve Kay told Coastal View: “It was great to see communities from Lingdale, Moorsholm, Kilton Thorpe, Saltburn, Marske, Newton under Roseberry and Guisborough supporting the people of Stanghow in resisting the wind turbine menace which threatens our beautiful countryside. Large land-based wind turbines are inefficient and will never solve Britain’s energy problems. The government should withdraw its support and concentrate on other forms of renewable energy, like tidal power. If they must have wind turbines, they should be out at sea.”
Chris France Director of Planning for North York Moors National Park Authority (NYMNPA) wrote to the planning department with their objection to the wind turbine, due to its size, which would make it clearly visible from large areas of the National Park.
Councillor Bill Suthers who represents Redcar & Cleveland Council on the NYMNPA, told the committee: “At least 20% of R&C lies within the National Park. It’s our National Park it’s not some distant authority. It is in our interests to give due credence to the comments of such an important body and the reasons for its objections.”
He went on to say: “The report suggests the 1700 hectares of the NYMNP from which the generation plant will be visible is a small area. It is not and it represents a major portion of R&CBC’s most important fragile countryside and a significant portion of our tourism offer. The tip of the turbine will be about 1000ft above sea level. I estimate that means it will be visible from Roseberry Topping and the iconic view north from there; Highcliffe; Danby Beacon and perhaps more of the NYMNP than indicated in the correspondence from Mr France.
“The national park and I are in favour of small domestic scale wind turbine development and a number have been approved in the Park recently. It is the industrial scale of this development and those in Upleatham and Guisborough to which they and I object. It’s not a windmill; it’s an electricity generating plant.
“And the impact on landscape value will not be confined to Stanghow. This will be the thin end of the wedge. We have seen this week consultation on a much bigger industrial generation site at Guisborough. A similar application at Upleatham was recently withdrawn, but for how long? Are we to litter our countryside, the Northern Gateway to the National Park with a plethora of industrial generation sites? Thereby devaluing R&C’s natural assets for our children and our grandchildren
“R&CBC are aiming to attract tourists to the newly regenerated Redcar, to Saltburn and this part of East Cleveland. I have had productive discussions with the new tourism officer at the Park who is keen to market the tourism offer in Guisborough and surrounding districts on the northern fringe of the Park. Such initiatives will generate much needed wealth and employment in the area. But proposals such as these, siting new manufacturing plants which impact on the scenic beauty of the area, will put an end to such initiatives. The R&C part of the National Park will become the part of the Park to avoid and any tourism aspirations will simply dissipate.”
Stanghow resident Sam Bell said he spoke for the young people of the village saying: “It is of no benefit to the residents of Stanghow, but we are the people who will have to live with it.
“The younger generation want to stay and live in the area, as we enjoy the views, the wildlife, fishing and the many walks.
“Stanghow and the surrounding area has lots of interesting wildlife, such as the many species of birds, deer, foxes, badgers and bats as well as migrating birds such as Canada geese, which not only pass by, but also come down to rest and feed in the adjacent field to the proposed site.
“This turbine will certainly be of no benefit to them. Wind turbines DO kill birds and bats, maybe not in large numbers but more importantly they displace them. Some places with wind turbines report that wildlife disappears in those areas.
“The proposed turbine is for a period of 25 years, for most of the current residents of Stanghow that is more than their lifetime.
“For us younger generation, our concerns are for our heritage and in years to come, who will clear up the 219 feet of scrap when the government withdraws the subsidies and companies abandon them as happened in America.
“This has nothing to do with renewable energy, it is about cashing in on government subsidies.”
Sandra Young resident of Stanghow and parish councillor for Lingdale and Stanghow said: “The residents of Stanghow have worked hard over many years to improve the village. They have raised and sourced funds to improve car parking, create flower beds, plant bulbs, trees and shrubs, create history boards and nature trails. They have successfully competed in Northumbria and Britain in bloom achieving the highest possible accolades in both. This has brought us together as a close knit community. The turbine will disrupt this as people become angry, disheartened and indifferent, thinking ‘why bother’.
Ian Solomon, Lockwood Parish Council Chairman told Coastal View: “Everything that was brought up in the planning meeting objecting to the wind turbine was very relevant. The wildlife must be protected and the view must not be spoiled, but the main concern for me is the people. It’s about the people who have to live in the shadow of a giant wind turbine in their area and it’s about their quality of life and how it would affect them.”
Sophie Taylor, agent for the applicants, said the site was in an area where the landscape had no special designation. It was more than 1km away from the nearest property.
She said the turbine would be visible from just 1.2% of the national park and it met criteria in the council’s development plans.
This application was recommended for approval by Redcar & Cleveland Planning Officers on the basis that the site is not one designated for its landscape quality and is not designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
We would like to know who decides these ludicrous things.
The planning committee voted 10 to one to refuse Empirica’s application for the proposed Ridge Farm development, because of its close proximity to the North Yorks National Park and would have been seen for miles around.
Councillor Doreen Rudland said: “We have to think about the future as what do we do once the fuel is all gone?”
After the decision Councillor Steve Kay told us: “It was a wonderful result for Stanghow. Just shows what East Cleveland can achieve when we support each other.
A special thanks to all who attended, including Tom Blenkinsop MP.
Sophie Taylor said after the meeting that an appeal would be submitted.