An energy firm has claimed a victory in the first battle to build a wind farm on “one of the world’s most famous landscapes” on moorland in Bronte country.

Bradford Council yesterday allowed developers Banks Renewables to build a 200ft wind monitoring mast, which is expected to pave the way for a “devastating” wind farm of four 330ft turbines on Thornton Moor, Denholme.

Councillors gave the scheme the green light despite huge opposition from campaigners and the Bronte Society, who said the structure would “deface” views across the “culturally and historically significant” moorland.

However, Banks Renewables said a wind farm would involve £3.8 million of investment and produce enough electricity to power 4,400 homes to address 21st century energy challenges.

The planning application for a test mast – to gather wind data ahead of a full planning application for the turbines – was agreed at a meeting of Shipley Area Planning Panel yesterday.

Anthea Orchard, of Denholme Gate, chairman of Thornton Moor Wind Farm Action Group, which is fighting to preserve the moor, told the meeting at Shipley Town Hall: “While this is a temporary mast, it will inevitably lead to the construction of something much larger, permanent and devastating for this community.”

Councillor Simon Cooke, who spoke against the application, said: “There is nowhere else in the world with this kind of landscape and I for one do not want to see it lose its uniqueness, simply to satisfy urban demand.”

Councillor Tony Maw, of Oxenhope Parish Council, said regeneration of the area, including using the moors as a tourist destination, was vital for the future of the area’s rural economy.

He said: “People who come and stay in Oxenhope are enchanted by the surrounding moorland and a mast by its height and the fact that it is a man-made structure will impact on the character of the area.”

Councillor Imdad Hussain (Lab, Heaton), said: “I think we have got the situation here where members of the public are against something because it is in their back gardens.”

The application was approved by four votes to two.