Public inquiry into Bridlington Bay wind turbine proposals set to conclude
A FOUR-DAY public inquiry into building wind turbines above Bridlington Bay will conclude today.
But after sitting through the evidence, neither the applicant or the campaigners can really know how their arguments have been received.
Government planning inspector Ken Barton will have to decide whether the protection of the landscape and the visual impact should outweigh national planning guidance, which Fraisthorpe Wind Farm Ltd says favours granting permission.
Yesterday, only a handful of residents remained from the scores who attended on the first day of the hearing.
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They heard Mr Barton ask East Riding Council: "Are there any landscaping matters you want to be covered by a condition?"
Realising the implication – that he was minded to find in favour of the turbines but with conditions – he quickly said: "I haven't made up my mind, it's just that everything has to be considered."
The inquiry is being held because East Riding Council failed to determine within the required eight weeks an application by TCI Renewables to install nine 420ft turbines at Auburn Farm in Fraisthorpe.
TCI Renewables appealed to the Secretary of State and the application will now be determined by the planning inspector.
He has heard David Hardy, who is a partner at international law firm Eversheds, which is putting the case for the wind farm, grill council representatives about why the authority's officers have, since the expiry of the eight-week deadline, recommended the application be refused.
The council said: "The proposed scheme in the proposed location would bring about significant harm, which is sufficiently severe and extensive to mean that it significantly and demonstrably outweighs the benefits of the proposal."
Some of the most emotive evidence has come from campaigners such as David Hinde, of Bempton.
He said the Fraisthorpe landscape is very special and had been chosen out of all the Yorkshire coast destinations to feature in a Visit England campaign promoting people holidaying at home.
"The actor Rupert Grint visited Fraisthorpe beach to film the Visit England tourism advert," said Mr Hinde.
"The application site was in the background."
Mr Hinde told the inspector the turbines would impact on the southern views from South Landing and the Heritage Trail across the cliffs at South Landing.
He was not alone in pointing out that David Hockney had drawn the world's attention to the landscapes around Bridlington with his London Royal Academy and international exhibitions.
As well as hearing evidence from residents, council representatives and Fraisthorpe Wind Farm Ltd, Mr Barton opted to take a visit to see the site for himself.
The appeal decision is likely to take weeks, or even months. With several other wind farm planning applications in the pipeline, the Fraisthorpe decision could have a wider impact.