Town council okay met mast at Marshall Meadows

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Plans to site a 50-metre meteorological mast on land at Marshall Meadows are progressing, after Berwick Town Council raised no objections.

Advance Renewables’ application to install and operate the information-gathering met mast, which would be in situ for a maximum of three years, will be heard by Northumberland County Council’s planning department in the coming weeks.

Not all members of Berwick Town Council’s planning committee agreed with the proposal, but at its meeting in March members voted four to two not to object to the plans.

Castle Ward councillor Tom Forrester raised concerns about the “eyesore” turbine at nearby Folly Farm, which went up in January.

He said: “To everyone’s shock and horror we have ended up with a wind turbine on there that’s still not connected up and is not reducing anyone’s electricity bill in this town by one ha’penny. It is a complete and utter eyesore.

“The current turbine there was agreed by the last council so we can’t do anything about that.

“We said one reluctantly. But I think if we give ground now and give two there’s no difference between two and 22!

“I’m not in favour of it at all. We have already given reluctant approval for another mast to go up last year and it still hasn’t materialised yet.”

Committee chair coun Georgina Hill told members that, due to a government update to the renewable energy guidelines, councillors could object if they felt there would be a cumulative visual impact.

But coun Alan Turnbill said: “If this was an application for a wind turbine I would have concerns about cumulative impact. But it is not, it’s for a weather monitoring mast.

“I think it’s relevant to see the difference between a weather monitoring mast and a wind turbine. It’s nothing visually like a wind turbine so I don’t think we will need to think about cumulative visual impact.”

Agreeing, St. Boisil Ward coun Gregar Roughead said: “It’s a device that measures wind, not a wind turbine. It’s got to be up and down within 36 months and is significantly smaller than the turbine.

“Members probably have views whether they like turbines or they don’t like them, but I think you can’t really have views in planing.

“I think we should let them do their research then come back to us with figures.”

Coun Alex Gibson added: “I have got no objection to the met mast. I have been told if they give go ahead with a turbine at the back of Marshal Meadows it will be 67 feet - all that you’ll possibly see will be the tips of the blades.”