Councillors have turned down plans for a 34-metre wind turbine in the green belt at Thornton amid fears the number of turbines in the vicinity is turning the area into a wind farm by the back door.

Bradford Council planning officers had recommended the scheme at 75 Back Heights Road, which was for a 50kw turbine on a 25 metre mast, be approved. But the majority of councillors at Bradford Planning Panel yesterday disagreed.

Four members voted against the plans, while two abstained.

Councillor Malcolm Sykes (Con, Thornton and Allerton) was particularly concerned about the scheme.

“For me this is inappropriate in the green belt and I don’t think there is sufficient mitigation to allow a wind turbine there.

“All these turbines will have a cumulative effect on that part of the moorland.

“When do all these wind turbines in the area become a windfarm, because there are so many of them now?”, he added.

Objectors told the panel about their fears over the constant noise like a washing machine permanently on, and over the possibility of shadow flicker.

They were also concerned that the distance to the nearest home outlined in the officer’s report was incorrect.

Planning officers detailed how an earlier application had been withdrawn due to concerns about the stability of the land and contamination issues as the location was a former landfill site. The application being considered yesterdayTUES had been moved to a different location, which was acceptable to planners.

They had also recommended a condition that sensors be installed to shut down the turbine when it faces a certain direction and the sunlight is such that shadow flicker is likely to occur.

There had been 24 letters objecting to the scheme and four letters in support.

Councillor Keith Dredge (Lab, Keighley West) added: “My concern is that we put a marker in the ground to prevent the cumulative effect of wind turbines in the area.”

The application was refused on the grounds that it was inappropriate development in the green belt and would have a significant impact - and that the very special circumstances required to justify granting planning permission within the green belt were not met.