PEOPLE who feared they would become surrounded by wind farms are celebrating after plans for turbines were refused.

Energy firm Wind Prospect wanted to build three 110- metre turbines at Foxton,County Durham – not far from land where controversial plans for what could be the country’s biggest wind farm have been put forward.

The Foxton plan, lodged with Durham County Council last year, is one of a number of similar wind farm projects in the area.

Campaigners who criticised the scheme said they felt that, if approved, it would mean the village would become an island surrounded by wind farms.

Applicant Wind Prospect said that the turbines would supply 3,019 homes in the region and said the plan was designed sympathetically.

Durham County Council did not debate the project within a 16-week time limit, but officers indicated members were mindful to refuse it if it had, and the scheme was passed to the Planning Inspectorate.

Following a hearing into the proposals, planning inspector Paul Jackson has rejected the application.

He said he felt the scheme would have a significant detrimental effect on the locality and that it would detract from the landscape.

Mr Jackson claimed the environmental and economic benefits of the scheme would be outweighed substantially by the negative aspects.

Resident and campaigner Carol Huitson said last night: “I’m very pleased. We’re not against renewable energy but this site is just unsuitable for the turbines.

“We know there is a need for renewable energy but we just feel that in this area there has been an overload of turbines.

“If this had been approved the people of Foxton would have been right in the middle of this wind farm and one for four turbines at nearby Lamb’s Hill.”

Phil Wilson, the Labour MP for Sedgefield, said: “This is excellent news and it’s a credit to the campaigners who ran a brilliant campaign.

It just proves there are too many wind farms in the area already and the cumulative effect has to be one of the reasons for refusal.”

Mr Wilson has also campaigned against plans for what could be England’s biggest wind farm, on land near the proposed Foxton site.

Energy firm E.ON wants to erect up to 45 turbines on the Isles Wind Farm, on land by the A1 near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

A spokesman for Wind Prospect said: "The Foxton Lane wind farm site was very thoroughly researched, with many detailed studies undertaken over the last five years, so we were very disappointed to hear the inspector's decision. "We pride ourselves on being a considerate developer which means that we only pursue sites that prove themselves to be appropriate after detailed study.

"We believed Foxton Lane was a good site for a three-turbine wind farm, so we are sad that it will not bring the anticipated benefits to the local community, nor contribute to the UK's need for energy security and renewable energy that David Cameron referred to in his recent letter to MPs."