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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Controversial wind turbine given go-ahead in close vote

A CONTROVERSIAL wind turbine has been given the go-ahead in a narrow vote by the decision-makers.

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democracy: John Jackson

Copeland planners have approved plans for a 24.8m-high turbine at Low Thorney Farm, at Carleton, near Egremont, despite strong community objections.

The crucial vote was deadlocked at four in favour and four against, however Geoff Blackwell – the chair of the planning panel – has the deciding vote and voted in favour.

Planners were told in a statement provided by the applicant, Phil Sherwin, that the turbine is “a significant distance from residential properties to ensure there are no issues associated with noise, shadow flicker or safety”.

The statement adds: “Although it will be visible from public highways and vantage points, this does not render the scheme harmful.”

The application attracted 15 letters of objection from the local area, plus one from Haile and Wilton Parish Council, raising a number of concerns.

They include visual impact, noise, flicker and the effect they feel it would have on tourism and house prices.

Coun John Jackson, representing the Beckermet ward, told his fellow councillors that they should not ignore the community’s objections.

He said: “Fifteen letters of objections represents almost the entire village; we can’t ignore all these people for the benefit of one [the applicant].

“We are in a democracy and surely we have to abide by that.

“It is too close to other people’s houses and will be an imposition on the people who live there.

“It is not the biggest turbine but it’s on a heightened site and will be visible for miles around. The only people who won’t see it is the applicant – as their house faces the other way.”

Copeland’s planning officers, in recommending approval to councillors, said: “The siting of the turbine in this location is, on balance, considered to represent an acceptable form of wind energy development.”

This new application is less than a mile away from a previously unsuccessful turbine application, from Robert Sherwin at High Thorney Farm.

The previous application for a 79.6m-high turbine – more than three times higher than the newly-approved proposal – was turned down initially by Copeland Council in 2011, and again on appeal in 2012.

A decision on a second turbine – planned for Howgate, near Whitehaven – will be taken by the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

The applicant – Empirica Investments Limited – appealed directly to the government ahead of a decision being taken by Copeland Council.

Land close to Middle Gill Farm has been earmarked for the 67m-high turbine. Copeland councillors voted that they are “minded to refuse” the application, and this view will be forwarded to the Inspectorate.

Thirty-two letters of objection were sent to Copeland Council, with concerns including noise, visual impact and the devaluation of house prices.

Councillors have also requested site visits before deciding on two further wind turbine applications in Copeland; at Drigg Moorside Farm (45.5m), and on land to the south west of Fairladies Farm, Outrigg Road, Egremont (66m).

Decisions on these are expected to be made at the next planning meeting on April 24.

Have your say

What a ridiculous fuss about something less tall than a mature tree. Effect on tourism? In Haile or Thornhill? Don't be daft! Good luck to the applicant, it's hard enough to make a living farming these days. NIMBY objectors - get over it.

Posted by crisby on 5 April 2013 at 11:41

“The only people who won’t see it is the applicant – as their house faces the other way." - This is downright selfish as far as im concerned but those living in surrounding areas will have no choice but to look at it. Obviously wont affect the councilors who voted despite all the objections. Makes my blood boil, it really does.

Posted by Annonyed on 5 April 2013 at 09:43

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