A CONTROVERSIAL proposal to build a new wind farm near Selby has been rejected by district council planners.

Plans to build five 127-metre high wind turbines at Cleek Hall, Turnham Lane, in Cliffe, were put forward by developers Hallam Land Management in 2009, and would have seen the 13-hectare site changed from farmland for 25 years.

The scheme, which could provide enough electricity for between 4,905 and 5,887 homes per year, attracted objections from local councils, but conservation groups English Heritage, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and North Yorkshrie County Council all reported no objections to the plans.

Councillor Jim Deans, chair of the planning committee on Selby District Council, said: “I think the decision surprised a lot of people. I feel it was in the interests of local people and of the district as a whole.”

Despite a recommendation that the plan should be given the green light, Coun Deans said it was felt the development would have a negative visual impact on the surrounding countryside, on neighbouring residents due to the scale height and proximity of the turbines, and adverse effects on neighbouring communities which outweighed the perceived benefits.

Complaints from Barlow Parish Council suggested “the proximity of the development to the A63 Selby Bypass may increase the risk of accidents”, and objected to another renewable energy site being created in the Selby district, alongside Drax Power Station and the planned bio-electrical generation plant at the former Tate & Lyle factory in Dennison Road.

Barlow resident Anthony Wray who spoke against the proposed wind farm at the planning meeting on Wednesday said afterwards: “I am delighted that the Selby District councillors had the courage to support the people of Selby by refusing the application to erect five massive wind turbines near the River Ouse at Cleek Hall.

“This sends a very clear message to wind farm developers and also to central government. This message is that we have been told in the past we have to have wind energy sources, we’ve tried them, and the vast majority of people in the Selby district supported by their district councillors have now said we don’t want any more.

“There are far more efficient and much less obtrusive sources of renewable energy than wind. Selby already has some in place, with more such applications due in the near future, and it is these, if any, that we should be supporting.”