Campaigners are urging two local authorities to reject a plan for a wind farm in the Pennines.

London-based Coronation Power wants to build up to 12 wind turbines on Crook Hill, north of Littleborough on the Yorkshire-Greater Manchester border.

 The Open Spaces Society (OSS) says the land is common land and any development on the moor will need not just planning permission, but the Environment Secretary’s go-ahead too.

The land straddles two local authorities, so the plans for the 36MW power generators will be decided partly by Rochdale Council and partly by Calderdale Council in West Yorkshire.

Kate Ashbrook, OSS general secretary, said: “The turbines will have a severely detrimental effect on this dramatic landscape.  They will be totally out of scale and highly visible from miles around, on the skyline of Crook Hill.

“Furthermore, they are to be sited on common land, on which the public has the right to walk and ride.  They will interfere with those rights and with people’s enjoyment of this wild, open landscape.  
“Unfortunately, Coronation Power has not done its homework properly.  It seems to think that only walkers have rights over this common, but for decades riders have also enjoyed the right here.

“Because the development will be sited on common land, Coronation Power will need the Secretary of State for Environment’s consent, in addition to planning permission, for works on the common, under section 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925.  

“The Secretary of State must be satisfied that the works are ‘of benefit to the neighbourhood’.  We do not believe they are.

‘Moreover the site is crossed by a dense network of public paths, including promoted routes such as the Todmorden Centenary Way and the Calderdale Way.  Even the developers admit that the effect on users of these routes will be ‘major to substantial’ and that on the paths generally it ranges from ‘moderate to major’.”

Vickram Mirchandani, Coronation Power’s managing director, said: “Crook Hill is an ideal site for wind power and we want to ensure that local people can directly benefit from it.

“We have proposed a community fund to support local projects, primarily in the areas of education and the environment and this has been broadly welcomed.

“The installation of the wind farm will generate £900,000 for local area community projects and the fund will be managed by local people for local people for the 25-year life of the wind farm.
“This country needs more renewable energy capacity now and onshore wind is the immediate and most readily available answer.”
Ms Ashbrook said: “The wind turbines could severely reduce the value of the area for tourism, just when a major new initiative, the Walkers Are Welcome Town of Hebden Bridge, has been launched.

“The development could have a devastating effect on the local economy which depends heavily on visitors, many of whom are walkers.

“We have called on Rochdale and Calderdale Councils to reject these damaging applications”.