VILLAGERS are celebrating after their four-year-long campaign against a windfarm proposal ended in victory.

Over 30 residents of nearby villages, including Sadberge, Bishopton and Little Stainton, attended a meeting of Darlington Borough Council's planning committee today (Wednesday, October 24) to hear the application unaninously rejected.

Renewable Energy was seeking to build three wind turbines on land at Newbiggin, between Darlington and Stockton.

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Planning officer Roy Merritt recommended refusal on the grounds that the 110-metre high turbines would have a negative visual impact on the countryside, particularly when combined with the existing turbine cluster at Moorhouse and an approved development at Lambs Hill.

The council received 48 individual objections to the proposal and six objectors, including Councillor Brian Jones, ward member for Sadberge and Whessoe, voiced their opinions at the meeting.

Peter Wood, a Bishopton resident and chairman of the Seven Parishes Action Group (SPAG) said that the area had “done more than its fair share” to support renewable energy, and the group’s co-chairman, Lorraine Tostevin said an extra three turbines would “desecrate” the overall appearance of the Tees plain.

Speaking after the meeting Ms Tostevin said: “We are absolutely delighted that four long years of fighting has paid off.

“People have supported us and campaigned over that time and it has borne fruit today.

“It is an absolutely fantastic outcome for all the residents within the parishes that have been affected by this; they will be delighted by this decision.”

Mr Wood added: “We would like to thank the residents for their support and all those who helped us form a fighting front.”

Farmer Philip Penk of Pitfield Farm, whose family home would have been within 600 meters of the turbines, said: “I was not confident at all that it would be refused, I have lost four years of my life to this but I will be having a glass of wine to celebrate tonight!”

Other concerns about the proposal included an objection from Durham Tees Valley Airport who said the masts could interfere with their radar systems, and from Sadberge Parish Council who opposed the village becoming a through-route for construction traffic.

Alan Irvine, managing director of Pure Renewable Energy, said that people must do all they can to support renewable energy and reduce reliance on imported gas, adding that turbines were already an “accepted feature” of the Newbiggin area.