CONTROVERSIAL plans for three giant wind turbines have been branded as 'vandalism of the countryside'.

FAB Energy Solutions wants to erect the turbines measuring up to 100 metres in height on land south of New Barn Billington Road in Hapton.

The proposed development lies on land to the south and south east of the existing Hameldon Hill Wind Farm, which has six wind turbines.

Despite letters of objections from community leaders and households living nearby, planners will recommend the application is approved at the next meeting of Burnley Council's Development Control Committee next Thursday (June 29).

In a letter of objection Cllr Joanne Greenwood, who represents the area on the borough council, said: "There are enough wind turbines in this area.

"Further turbines would have a detrimental effect on visual amenity.

"There have been complaints that the existing wind turbines affect residents by flicker and noise."

Hapton Parish Council said it objects to the development on the basis that the village already has a number of wind turbines and any more will 'affect the visual amenities of the village'.

Residents living nearby at individual farmsteads at Barley Top, Barley Green Farm, Waggoners Farm, Further Barn Farm, Further Barn and Lower Micklehurst Barn, have also raised a number of concerns.

These include the impact on the landscape, 'vandalism of the countryside', effect on views, noise disturbance, impact on peregrine falcons and upland breeding birds and the impact on the Grade II listed buildings at Lower Micklehurst Farm and the remains of Hapton Tower.

Other nearby residents also raised concerns about the turbines being visible from the main access route into Burnley from Rawtenstall.

In a design and access statement on behalf of applicants FAB Energy Solutions, agents AAH Planning Consultants, said: "Being perceived as an extension to the Hameldon Hill Wind Farm, it is considered that use of the site for wind turbine development is consistent with the existing landscape and infrastructure.

"Further to this, an assessment and evaluation of the landscape and visual impact, cumulative impact and landscape capacity for development suggests that the scheme can be accommodated.

"It is estimated that the proposed scheme would generate approximately 15,558 MW hours (MWh) of electricity per annum, which is enough electricity annually to supply the equivalent of approximately 4,616 households.

"This could potentially displace the equivalent of up to approximately 6,690 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year from conventional forms of electricity generation. "

A community benefit fund would also be set up by the applicant to support community initiatives and improvements to the area throughout the 25-years operational life of the wind turbines.