PROTESTS are growing against plans to erect wind turbines on the outskirts of villages in the Redcar area.

More than 60 residents from the communities of Wilton, Lazenby, Kirkleatham and Yearby packed into a public meeting to put their views to local councillors.

Redcar MP Ian Swales and a group of Labour and Lib-Dem councillors from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council have raised concerns about the proposed wind turbine installations in the area.

However, the applicant, Airvolution, says they intend to continue working with the community in an attempt to resolve any issues that residents may have.

Councillor Ray Goddard told the meeting that despite all of the ward councillors supporting the principles of renewable energy, the turbines that are proposed for a site alongside the A174 at Wilton were too big and too close to the neighbouring villages.

And Cllr Eric Howden maintained that traditionally industrial development had been kept to the north of the A174 as it forms a natural boundary and once one development crosses it, it will open the floodgates to more development, creeping up to the Eston Hills.

Cllr Dale Quigley added: “We must remember that the villages of Wilton, Yearby and Kirkleatham have all been set aside as conservation areas and must ensure that we don't allow commercial development to devalue their heritage.”

Members of the public have sent in more than 200 formal objections to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, many expressing concern at the visual impact of the 450 feet high turbines.

A spokesperson for Airvolution said: “We believe this is an important project that can help generate much needed renewable energy. The Wilton Wind project would generate enough electricity to power 4,500 homes every year and bring investment and new jobs to the local area.

“If the two-turbine project goes ahead it will also lead to the creation of a community benefit fund worth £33,000 for every year of the project’s lifetime, which will benefit local communities around Wilton and Yearby.

“We have already set up a community liaison group to ensure that we are listening to the views of local people and are looking forward to receiving more feedback from other consultees during this planning stage.

“If anybody wants to get in touch with Airvolution to ask questions about our plans they can email or call us for free on 0800 0147 080.”

The application is expected to go before the council’s planning committee in the coming months.