CONTROVERSIAL proposals for two 60-metre tubular steel wind monitoring masts have been agreed - despite protests by angry residents.

The masts - one to the north-east of the telecommunications mast at Park Farm and the second on land north-west of the former depot site in Wilton Lane, both near Guisborough - were approved by six votes to four at a recent meeting of Redcar and Cleveland Council planning committee.

Residents have been rallying together in reaction to an increasing number of applications connected with wind farms being submitted to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council in the East Cleveland area.

Members of a number of local campaign groups protested outside the meeting in Belmont House, Guisborough.

At the meeting, Councillor Mary Lanigan said: "We have no choice. If we voted against it our decision would be overturned.

"I understand what residents are saying - I don't like wind turbines anymore than anyone else - but when an application for wind turbines comes in then that will be decided by this committee and residents and the community and everybody else will be able to have their say."

Guisborough resident John Larkin said later: "The decision was a farce. It's a back-door way to get wind turbines in and they have not taken into consideration what the people want."

Another resident, Alison Martin, said: "I think it is awful. It is going to industrialise a beautiful part of the countryside."

The application had attracted 97 letters or emails of objection with a wide variety of concerns raised, including fears the plan would open to the door to more applications for wind farms; the masts would have a detrimental impact on the landscape; would be too close to the village of Stanghow, and cause potential noise problems.

The application was recommended for approval by council officers.

A report put before members concluded: "The slender design of the mast and associated guys is considered to result in a form of development that will not have a significant impact upon the character and appearance of the landscape."

In September, the committee refused an application for a 90m-high wind turbine near Kilton Thorpe village in East Cleveland after concerns were raised by members that the scheme would have a negative impact on the local environment.