Andy Sieroslawski at The Astronomy Centre, Todmorden
Andy Sieroslawski at The Astronomy Centre, Todmorden

A Todmorden astronomer has raised concerns about the future of a major project after an appeal to build four wind turbines was lodged.

The construction of the UK’s largest reflecting telescope at The Astronomy Centre has been put on hold after four wind turbines were built by Coronation Power on neighbouring land last year.

Now the centre, which is based in the moors of the Southern Pennines at Bacup Road, is facing new threats after an appeal was lodged by Kelda Water Services to the planning inspectorate to build an additional four wind turbines.

Calderdale Council rejected plans last year to build four three-blade turbines towering between 360 - 390 feet (110 and 125-metres) at a site near to Gorpley Reservoir, off Bacup Road.

Andy Sieroslawski, an astronomer at the centre, said: “There are some of the biggest wind turbines in the UK right by the astronomy centre and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

“The impact from the wind turbines affects our atmospheric and radio frequency readings and we have been measuring the direct effect of this since they were built.

“It’s been devastating and it is clearly unfair. We are trying to build this telescope for the public and to use for further research but the impact of the wind turbines is too great.”

Council planning chiefs refused the application on the grounds that Gorpley wind farm would have “significant, adverse landscape and visual effects” on landscape character at High Moorland Plateaux, Calder valley, South Pennines heritage area, Todmorden and wider Calderdale views.

The meeting at Halifax Town Hall heard in addition to existing surrounding wind farms the development would create a 4.3-mile “long line” of turbines, of Todmorden Moor, Reaps Moss, Crook Hill and Scout Moor, which would “appear almost unbroken from many viewpoints.”

A spokesperson from Kelda Water Services said: “The decision to appeal came after careful consideration and further exploration of the green energy benefits that this project would deliver to its sister company, Yorkshire Water and its customers.

“The proposed development would generate around 4 per cent of Kelda’s total energy needs, equivalent to powering around 6,300 homes and is part of a wider commitment to sustainable resources. With rising energy prices, the turbines will significantly help to keep customer bills as low as possible.

“Extensive consultation with local communities and stakeholders did result in the reduction of the number of turbines being proposed on the site.

“The company will await the decision before commenting further.”

The appeal is currently in process and a date will be set soon.

Coronation Power were unavailable for comment.