Plans which could lead to the development of an energy park and wind farm on a former Ministry of Defence airfield look set to be approved this week.
Last month East Northamptonshire Council turned down plans to convert buildings at the old Chelveston airfield for the generation of electricity through the use of palm oil. The project had been opposed by nearly 600 people.
But the district council is expected to approve plans tomorrow to allow landowners Chelveston Renewable Energy Limited to continue using a mast at the airfield to monitor wind speeds for the second year in a row.
Energy park protesters fear this could lead to the creation of a wind farm at the site.
A spokesman for protest group Preserve said: “We were pleased that the local councillors listened to our arguments and took them on board last month.
“Our fear is the owners will just keep prolonging their use of the mast so they can cherry-pick the bits of information which support the case for a windfarm.”
The developers were given temporary permission for the 70m high mast for 12 months in March 2006.
The latest plans for the mast have been opposed by Chelveston Parish Council, Hargrave Conservation Society and Preserve whose members feel the mast is out of keeping with the area.
Councillors have been advised by the authority’s planning officers that there is no reason that planning permission for the mast could not be extended.
In a report to members, planning officer Sue Wheatley, said the application for the mast could only be considered on its own merits.
She said: “The granting of planning permission for this mast for a further period of time would not set a precedent for the granting of approval for a wind farm as the issues in terms of visual impact would be far greater and wide ranging.”
Initial plans for an energy park on the site in April0 2006, suggested it could include a biomass plant and between 14 and 17 of the country’s largest wind turbines, but the developers have not commented on its long-term plans for the airfield since.
n Another scheme for the erection of one wind turbine at Longbrook Farm, Thurning, has also been recommended for approval.
25 July 2007
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