Wind Farm affecting tourism near Harrogate

The Knabs Ridge wind farm near Harrogate, North Yorkshire has had a very detrimental effect on the neighbouring caravan park's business.

Information from the owners of the Kessingland caravan park:

1. Knabs Ridge is an 8-turbine wind farm, 430 meters from our park. The first four turbines were operational in early 2008 and the final four became operational towards the end of August, 2008. The official opening of the Wind Farm was on 11th November, 2008.

2. The caravan park has been in the family for 28 years. Until the wind farm arrived the number of vacant pitches each season was, on average, 8. The park has 159 static pitches and 57 touring pitches which are let on a season basis.

3. We began losing customers when the wind farm became operational. Customers began moving their static and touring vans to other parks. At the beginning of April 2009 we had 40 empty static pitches and 15 empty touring pitches.

4. When customers left, they told us that it was because of the wind farm. Some people on site would not have purchased holiday homes if they had known how unsightly and noisy a wind farm can be.

5. When potential holiday-home buyers come to view the park now, they lose interest as soon as they see the Wind Farm.

6. We have lost £91,360.00 in pitch fee income, plus trading, plus caravan sales of approximately £400,000. For the last two seasons we have not sold a new holiday home. We normally sell ten per season.

The Inquiry Inspector, in his Report on the Knabs Ridge proposal, assured us all that tourist businesses would be unaffected by the turbines. We are most upset that we have now been left in this position. You may recall that the wind farm application was rejected by local people but overturned by the inspector.

Harrogate Council has received many complaints about the noise of the turbines. A noise monitor was erected in an adjacent field, some way from the caravans, and a report written saying that there was no problem. More work is being commissioned, apparently.

In many other European countries large turbines must be sited at least 2 km away from properties. If this applied here, the business would not be suffering as it is now.

(information from Jane Kershaw)

Camping and Caravanning Club, Kessingland site - Customer Reviews:

“We were prepared for some noise from the wind turbines but were surprised how noisy they were.”

“We were very disappointed with the noise from the Wind Turbines when we booked we were not told about them - as we were in a tent there was no escape from the noise. ”

“...very close to the camp are a couple of wind turbines which, during the day, did not cause any problems. During the night they were a nightmare. The droning noise constantly disturbed our sleep and the sleep of other campers.”

“When we arrived there was no wind so they moved very slowly and caused no problem but once a breeze picked up - and it was only a breeze, no real movement in the tents around us, they became very annoying. I live 8 miles from an airport and so am used to regular air traffic noise but this sounded like an aircraft up above constantly. I felt sorry for those in tents. At least I got a break when I went into the caravan. During the morning when the sun came out you had the shadow of the blades going round and round across the site. I found them too annoying, in the end, to consider returning to this site.”

“Lovely site; a shame about the wind turbines.”

“Those windmills! Oh dear, what a shame. A once-lovely site is now cursed with the woosh woosh, all day, all night.”

“.....a big show-stopper for us was the recently-erected Wind Turbines, one on each side of the site, which emitted a constant ’Whoosh..whoosh.. which drove my wife to despair, as it did to several of the other campers.”

“A well run site, completely spoilt by the noise from the wind turbines which, at times, sound like an aircraft continuously taking off. Had one really bad night when I had to go for a walk at 3 am to get away from the noise. I walked down to Kessingland beach for some peace and quiet. I won't be back.”

A reader comments.....Either the inspector was unaware of the impact the wind farm would have on tourism, or knew what would happen, and said nothing. It is difficult to decide which is worse.

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