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Public Inquiry could scupper opera wind turbine bid

A public Inquiry for a controversial wind turbine to power Glyndebourne Opera House could force the bid to be scrapped.

A bid to build a turbine at Mill Plain, New Road, Ringmer, split the community when it was approved by Lewes District Council last month.

Hundreds of people attended the meeting to hear the decision which went against a council planning officer’s recommendation to refuse it.

The council received 89 letters in support of the application and 282 against. Councillors voted 6-4 in favour of the 70-metre-high turbine.

But Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Hazel Blears told the district council no final decision could be made on the turbine until she had seen the application.

She has decided to call in the application and a public enquiry will take place.

Tony Parker, of Mill Road, Ringmer, was delighted at the Government decision. He said: ‘This represents a battle won by residents and rural protection groups, but not yet a war won.

‘There are examples of turbine applications being permitted following a call-in.

‘We will continue to properly inform residents and to counter the misinformation and spin that has characterised much of the proponents’ arguments.’

Glyndebourne chairman Gus Christie said the sheer cost of the inquiry could force him to scrap his plans .

He said: ‘I think it is very hard trying to be green in this country.

‘I think the hypocrisy is rife.

‘We want to battle this the whole way through but the costs of this public enquiry are huge.

‘We have to consider whether we will fight this because of the costs.

‘We are a local charity trying to do something good for the environment and set an example and we might not be able to because of what the Government has decided.’

Sussex Express

22 August 2007