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Wind turbine plan blown out

Plans for wind turbines have been blown-out hours before the controversial proposals were due to go before planners.

Brighton and Hove City Council has announced it will be deferring the plans for the turbines on its headquarters at Kings House, Grand Avenue in Hove.

It was due to be discussed by the council’s planning committee tomorrow.

The plans will now be sent to the council’s Sustainability Commission for consideration at their meeting on January 9, 2008. Shortly afterwards a decision will be made whether to resubmit the planning applications.

Council leader Brian Oxley said: “We think it needs to be looked at very carefully and want to make sure we get best value for money, assess the visual intrusion and noise and look at the pay off of the power produced.

“We want to make sure it is the right scheme.”

The turbines had come under criticism from residents living near the seafront building.

One 65ft device would have been installed on Hove Lawns and six smaller turbines on the roof of the council headquarters.

Two petitions and dozens of letters objecting to the work had been sent to the council.

Some had claimed the turbines were a “gimmick” and would have little impact on the council’s carbon footprint.

The £70,000 turbines were part of a £200,000 grant from The Carbon Trust for the council to spend on projects to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

The council had pledged to put in £250,000 of taxpayers’ money to help fund the work.

Work on the turbine scheme has been going on for about eight months.

An officer was appointed to specifically deal with schemes funded by the trust, at a cost of £40,000.

The scheme had been introduced earlier in the year when the Labour Party were in power.

Opposition leader councillor Gill Mitchell said she now feared for the future of other schemes.

She said: “This is the first serious climate change challenge the Tories have faced and they have ducked out.”

Coun Mitchell said she didn’t believe the scheme would ever come before planning.

She had urged the Tories to back the turbines which she said would save 17,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

Green Party councillor Paul Steedman, who is a member of the Sustainability Commission, said: “It’s outrageous that the Tory administration has pulled the plug on these plans just hours before the councillors were due to have their say.

“Residents want real action on climate change not more hot air.

“I think it’s a sad cave-in to a small number of people who have got particularly nimby views.”

Coun Oxley said other schemes in the council’s Carbon Management Programme, including work at West Hove Children’s Centre, would be fast tracked.

Additional projects include introducing low energy lighting in car parks and improved heating and ventilation controls in council buildings.

The Argus

30 October 2007