A decision to consider a wind farm application three weeks before a public inquiry into plans to erect turbines on a neighbouring site has been branded “madness”.
Campaigners and Alan Beith MP have called for the Wandylaw bid – due to be discussed on October 23 – to be delayed until after the public inquiry into the Middlemoor proposals.
A planning inspector will start hearing the arguments for and against 18 turbines at Middlemoor on November 13.
Campaigners fear that if Berwick Borough Council decides the plans for 10 turbines at Wandylaw before the inquiry it could set a precedent. And they say it would be better to hear all the applications for wind farms in north Northumberland together.
But Wandylaw developer RidgeWind welcomed the decision to hold the meeting before the inquiry.
A public inquiry has to be held for Middlemoor because Alnwick District Council objected to npower renewables’ application. Wandylaw is able to be decided by the borough council due to its size.
Dominic Coupe, chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Northumberland, said: “It seems extraordinary that one wind farm site that’s next door to another is going to a public inquiry which will begin in November.
“To go ahead with even thinking about taking it to the planning committee at this stage seems madness.
“The sensible decision for the borough council’s planning committee is to defer it until after the Middlemoor public inquiry and until after they have looked at the Arup study.
“There is a danger that it could set a precedent and it is an enormous shame that such huge pressure is being put on the borough council’s planning committee to make this decision.
By Jaclyn Curry
11 October 2007
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