September 8, 2006

Council rejects test mast plan

The first stage of a contoversial windfarm at Tallentire, near Cockermouth, has been rejected by Allerdale council.

Members had been asked to give permission for a 51.5 metre test mast on Tallentire Hill.

The plan attracted huge opposition from neighbouring villages.

Ninety eight letters of objection to the plan, by Renewable Energy Systems UK, were sent to the council. Two letters were sent in support.

Residents of Tallentire, Gilcrux, Bridekirk and Dovenby joined forces to oppose plans for the test mast, the precursor to a windfarm on the hill just outside the Lake District national park.

An earlier application for two test masts was turned down by Allerdale’s development panel, despite backing from officers.

An appeal over that decision has been launched by the company, but meanwhile it has returned with a scaled-down plan for one mast.

Objector Margaret O’Hare said: “There seems to be a certain arrogance, in my view, that they would keep coming back like this.

“Members have listened, heard their application and rejected it on the grounds of visual impact. In essence there’s no real change in this second application.”

Objectors say that with the closure of Corus and the loss of 800 jobs at Sellafield, tourism was the best hope for the district’s future.

Wind farms in areas of scenic beauty would stop the development of that vital industry, they add.

A report by councillors said the site of the proposed mast was within a locally-important landscape area and that any development should be compatible with the distinctive features of the landscape.

It recommended approval as the mast would only be in place for 36 months.

Councillors, however, voted 10-2 against the application.

l Allonby residents attended yesterday’s meeting as they prepare to object to a proposal to erect five 335ft turbines at Brownrigg Hall Farm, by Nuon Renewables.

The site is in the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The group hopes to have 500 to 1,000 objections by the time the plan goes before the council.

It has issued more than 2,000 information sheets and sample letters of objections to people in Allonby and surrounding districts.

Letters have also been sent to Allonby caravan park users.

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