Protesters slam Wearside wind turbine plans

Members of the Hetton Against Wind Turbines group, Kay Rowham, Ralph Foster, Linda Welsh, John Defty and Shirley Carr protesting over fears the council are planning to install wind turbines in Hetton Country Park.
Members of the Hetton Against Wind Turbines group, Kay Rowham, Ralph Foster, Linda Welsh, John Defty and Shirley Carr protesting over fears the council are planning to install wind turbines in Hetton Country Park.
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ANGRY residents fear a Wearside park could be a target for wind farm developers.

Protesters claim huge wind turbines could be erected at Hetton Lyons Country Park.

Pressure group Hetton Against Wind Farms (HAWF) believes a feasibility study carried out by Partnership for Renewables (PfR) is the gateway to a planning application.

But Sunderland City Council says there is no proposal as such to build wind turbines at the park but the area is the subject of a “feasibility study”.

Supporter Kay Rowham spoke out when the issue was raised at a meeting of Hetton Town Council.

She said: “Sunderland City Council states in its Climate Change Action Plan ‘we are committed to developing 250kW of wind energy at two council-owned sites by 2012’.

“It appears that there are only two sites under consideration, Hetton Lyons Country Park and Tunstall Hills.

“We have asked for an information update on what we initially thought was just a rumour on this subject.

“We have constantly been told there is no planning application.

“Although this is very true, everyone knows very well planning applications on massive projects like this can be the last stages of a very long process.”

But Labour councillor Florence Anderson said: “This is a very long process to go through.

“Do we think for one moment they are going to stick a turbine in the middle of Hetton Country Park?,” she said.

“It can take years and years. Nothing is done behind closed doors – it is all out in the open.

“Hetton Town Council has always been very forthright in defending the people of Hetton.

“We would not allow anything that was detrimental because there would be a wholesale outcry.

“There is a process to go through – a democratic process.”

Keith Lowes, head of planning and environment, at Sunderland City Council, said: “There is no proposal to build wind turbines in the country park as such.

“The area is the subject of a feasibility study by PfR, to examine the possibility of installing wind turbines and to carry out all necessary surveys and consultation.

“The city council has an option with PfR giving it a three-year period to show where land could be suitable.

“If that is the case, then planning permission will have to be applied for, which will be publicised and considered by the appropriate committee in due course.”

Twitter: @janethejourno

Tunstall concerns

Campaigners in Sunderland raised similar concerns after PfR carried out a study on playing fields close to Tunstall Hills.

Speaking to the Echo in April, Allan White from Tunstall Hills Protection Group said he fears the wind turbine, if given the go-ahead, will lead to others being installed in the area.