Campaigners celebrate after wind farm appeal is dropped at 11th hour

Anti-wind farm group at Clough Foot. From the left, David Sutcliffe, Sylvia Sutcliffe, Susan Kirk, Robert Finnerty, Stephen Bottomley and Viv Gilmore.
Anti-wind farm group at Clough Foot. From the left, David Sutcliffe, Sylvia Sutcliffe, Susan Kirk, Robert Finnerty, Stephen Bottomley and Viv Gilmore.

Dedicated campaigners are celebrating after an appeal against Calderdale Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a wind farm near Todmorden was withdrawn at the 11th hour.

Objectors to the wind farm rejoiced last October when planning chiefs refused the proposals on the grounds that the turbines - near Gorpley Reservoir - would have “significant, adverse, landscape and visual effects” on the area. The proposals, submitted by Kelda Water, sought the erection of four wind turbines towering between 360-390 feet over Inchfield Moor. The towers themselves would have dominated the skyline at 259 feet.

But campaigners’ joy was shortlived when the water giant lodged an appeal against the decision with the Planning Inspectorate in April.

The group is now celebrating once more after Kelda withdrew the appeal, claiming Gorpley is no longer an attractive renewable energy source due to changes in government policy.

“This wind farm would have towered and dominated over our home and as such would have destroyed the enjoyment we gain from it,” said campaigner Stephen Bottomley

“This terrible threat has haunted for the last four or so years and it never seemed to leave our minds - it has been an absolute nightmare. The entire blame rests with Kelda.”

He thanked MP Craig Whittaker and anti-windfarm campaigner Gerry Smith for their help.

A spokesperson for Kelda Water Services said: “Changes in government policy have made the site at Gorpley no longer attractive as a renewable source at present.

“As a result, we have withdrawn our appeal for four turbines at the site but will continue to review our position should further policy changes occur in the future.”

But opposers claim the appeal was only withdrawn when Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker personally wrote to the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of Mr Bottomley. The letter included a support document from Gerry Smith, which stated the application and appeal were invalid because a pre-application consulation for the 2014 application had not been carried out.

While the long-running battle against the Gorpley wind farm has been brought to a close, the Astronomy Centre at Todmorden is still in dispute with the operators of wind farms at Todmorden Moor and Reaps Moss, which it says are affecting the ability to carry out astronomy.