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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Rejected windfarm is back on agenda

PLANNERS will again be urged to back a controversial windfarm when they meet to make a final decision next week.

Members of Copeland’s planning panel voted almost unanimously last month to turn down the plans for the six-turbine windfarm, earmarked for an elevated area of land between Moresby Parks and Frizington known as Weddicar Rigg.

However, because the decision went against the council officers’ recommendation to approve, policy dictates that the proposal will go back before the panel for a second opinion at next Wednesday’s meeting, at which point the decision will be final.

They will again be recommended to give the scheme the go-ahead, and will be told that the package of community benefits – including a £50,000 apprentice scheme with Lakes College and a minimum £30,000-a-year donation to a community fund for the 25-year lifespan of the windfarm – would outweigh the harm.

The panel is independent, however, and although it takes on board the officers’ recommendation, each councillor can vote as they see appropriate.

The plans initially attracted 662 letters of objection from residents concerned about the devaluation of property and the cumulative impact in an area already “overrun” with wind energy developments.

The application is by Banks Renewables, which says that contracts worth £3.5million would be on offer to local companies – and 25 to 30 jobs created – during the construction. The plans received 123 letters of support from local companies and residents.

Last month, councillors voted six-to-one against the plans. Only Gilbert Scurrah, councillor for the Millom Without ward, voted in favour. Four councillors were absent for the meeting.

They turned the plans down amid concerns about the visual impact they felt it would have, and the proliferation of wind turbines in the area.

Coun Mike McVeigh said: “It would be complete and utter sacrilege to put a windfarm in such a majestic place. This is a step too far.”

Have your say

Anthony King; you're quite happy presumably to use electricty generated where other people live - a bit hypocritcal, no? Peter Johnstone; planning officers are paid to advise Councillors on the pros and cons of the application, including the law, landowners' rights, national planning policy and the costs of losing an appeal if they get it wrong (£100,000+). It's ignorant to criticise them for doing their job. Andrew clarke; the members of the Planning Panel are Councillors, not planners.

Posted by crisby on 10 October 2012 at 13:03

I am in complete agreement with Councillor McVeigh when he calls this wind farm sacrilege, it is! I wonder why the Planning Officers want this site to go ahead so badly? When they say the "community benefits would outweigh the harm", just what do they mean? Who, apart from Banks Renewables and the landowner(s) will benefit the most? Not the wider community, that's for sure! We have had enough of these monstrosities desecrating the countryside, if the Planning Officers, Principal or otherwise want these things, then HAVE THEM WHERE YOU LIVE!!

Posted by Anthony King on 6 October 2012 at 16:44

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