April 8, 2011 | Moor House News
County Durham firm Banks Renewables, part of The Banks Group, developed the plans for the ten turbine Moor House scheme, which would be sited on land to the north east of Barmpton, around three miles to the east of the A1.
Although originally recommended for approval by the Darlington Borough Council’s planning officers, the first proposal was rejected by the council’s planning committee in November last year, primarily on the grounds of the scheme’s visual impact.
Since then, Banks has moved to address these design concerns, and has now submitted a new scheme which comprising just six turbines and which covers a significantly smaller area.
The new scheme is a kilometre away from Barmpton and more than two kilometres from the next nearest village.
The Moor House scheme is now broadly in line with an independent report compiled by consulting engineers Arup into the capacity of the local landscape for this sort of development, with the maximum tip height of the proposed turbines increased from 110m to 125m to maximise the amount of renewable energy that the reduced scheme can produce.
Banks is now hoping to get a planning decision on this new application by the middle of the year.
Phil Dyke, development director of Banks Renewables, says: “We were obviously very disappointed with the rejection of our original proposals, especially as it was recommended for approval, but we have since looked carefully at our design options and believe the new proposal addresses the concerns that were raised at the original planning committee meeting.
“Industry evidence suggests that having fewer turbines of a greater generating capacity and height significantly lessens a wind farm’s visual impact, something which, in this instance, is also backed up by the independent Arup report into the landscape’s capacity to manage renewable energy schemes of this type.
“We have also moved the scheme further away from local settlements to an average distance that is considerably greater than you would usually see in modern schemes of this type.
“Our professional planning view remains that the Moor House scheme is still wholly suitable for this location, but we appreciate the concerns raised by some local residents during the public consultation process we carried out and have done our best to mitigate them with this new proposal.
“Because most of the technical assessments required for this scheme have already been carried out, we would hope to be able to get a swift judgement on it, and hope that the merits of the changes we have made will be recognised by the Council’s planning committee.”