VILLAGERS have registered their firm opposition to tentative plans to build a nine-turbine wind farm on their doorstep.

Developer Pure Renewable Energies (PRE), part of the Durham-based Esh Group, is considering making a planning application at Ingram Grange Farm, south of Appleton Wiske, between Northallerton, North Yorkshire, and Teesside.

If the development goes ahead, it could see wind turbines of up to 125m installed, as well as access roads and a turbine building.

PRE has submitted a scoping statement to Hambleton District Council, stating its possible intentions for the site.

A scoping statement is a document produced by a developer for a local planning authority, advising of the possibility of a future application for full planning permission.

The document examines the nature of the development and its proposed impact on the environment.

No planning application has yet been submitted by PRE.

Although the planning process is at an early stage, the district council has received comments - mostly objections - from 19 residents.

Residents' objections centre around the issues of noise, the proximity of the proposed development to houses and its potential impact on the landscape and wildlife.

Robert Patterson, of Hunters Ride, Appleton Wiske, wrote to the district council, saying: "I am appalled to see that a scoping request for a wind farm has been submitted so close to an established settlement and school."

The Appleton in Bloom committee has also registered its objection.

Chairman Simon Golding wrote to the district council, asking that the application be withdrawn.

He wrote: "In general, we would support any scheme to provide alternative sources of energy, but the proposal for nine turbines is quite inappropriate.

"The scheme will blight the landscape."

Parish councillors in Welbury, where the wind farms would be situated, are also opposed to the plan.

Alan Irvine, managing director of the Esh Group, said the objections would be considered before a decision on whether to submit a planning application was made.

He said: "PRE is assessing a number of sites for wind farm developments, and wishes to take all views into consideration.

"We have submitted a request to the district council to establish the information that will be required to support any future planning application.

"At this early stage, it would be premature to enter into discussions on specific sites.

"Should we decide to go ahead with a planning application, then we will engage in public consultation."

* The Appleton Wiske development is unconnected to a similarly controversial project, which would see four 425ft wind turbines built at Bullamoor, near Northallerton.

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