South Tyneside planning chiefs head back to the drawing board over controversial plans for huge new wind turbine at Middlefields depot
Controversial proposals for the 77 metre structure were supposed to go before development chiefs at South Tyneside Council later this month.
Alarm bells over the scheme at Middlefields Depot, in Heddon Way, South Shields, had already been raised by the local authority’s planning department, which had formally recommended decision-makers turn it down.
But before borough councillors had a chance to debate the merits of the green energy programme, bosses instead decided to go back to the drawing board in the hope of finding a solution to issues raised.
A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said: “A number of new objections to the proposals for a wind turbine at Middlefields came to light just before Planning Committee was due to consider the application and as a consequence it was decided to withdraw the application to explore how these could be addressed.
“The council is committed to its goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.
"We have declared a climate emergency and published our Sustainable South Tyneside Strategy.
"The proposal for a wind turbine was just one of a very broad range of investments being made across the borough in carbon reduction and renewable energy, including our highly innovative Hebburn minewater scheme and the Viking Energy Network at Jarrow that are currently under construction.”
The scheme had been expected to go before the borough’s Planning Committee before the decision was made to withdraw the application, although the panel will still consider proposals to move the A183 Coast Road between South Shields and Sunderland over concerns about coastal erosion.
Plans for the turbine were unveiled in 2018, with bosses predicting it could save about £150,000 a year in energy and operating costs at the site, “as well as contribute to the sustainability of council services at Middlefields depot”.
It was also expected to make “a significant contribution towards the council’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030” and has previously been cited among a raft of other eco-friendly projects for the borough.
However, the council’s planning department also claimed the proposals did not comply with updated national guidelines which include a “general presumption against new wind turbines”.