Campaigners are welcoming objections from Cumbria County Council against plans for a controversial windfarm on the edge of the Lake District.
Berrier Hill Wind Energy Ltd is proposing to put up nine 100-metre high turbines – around 335ft – at Berrier Hill on the Greystoke Castle Estate.
The turbines would be seen in panoramic views dominated by the backdrop fells of Blencathra, Carrock and Bowscale.
The proposals have already prompted hundreds of responses to Eden Council’s planning office – around 375 supporting the application and 400 against, according to figures from mid-December.
Parish councils, residents and statutory groups such as county archeologists are among those who have raised concerns.
Now the county council’s development control panel has lodged an objection following the recommendation of Shaun Gorman, the head of environment.
He told the council panel that the windfarm would have a significant effect on the landscape and character of the area, which provides the setting for the nearby Lake District National Park.
In particular, Mr Gorman was concerned about the impact it would have on landscape, the lack of information on whether the local road network could accommodate the planned development and the lack of work to record, protect and conserve archaeological remains.
He also says the plans do not fit in with five key planning policies.
County councillors on the development control panel agreed with Mr Gorman’s report and submitted it to Eden’s planning department as part of the statutory consultation.
A spokesman for the Berrier Hill Wind Farm Opposition Group said: “This is fantastic news for the beginning of 2008, and reinforces what we’ve always said from the very beginning, that this is an unsuitable place for an industrial windfarm development.
“We’ve always argued this is a very special unspoilt area of outstanding natural beauty which forms the setting for Blencathra – one of the most famous mountains in the Lake District – and the windfarm would have a disproportionate effect on the landscape of this quiet backwater.
“We’re heartened that this exceptional landscape has been recognised by Cumbria County Council and we’re delighted the proposed Berrier Hill windfarm is contrary to five county planning policy documents.”
The group’s statement adds: “This strengthens our opposition to Berrier Hill windfarm and we’re confident that taken together with objections from other statutory and non-statutory bodies Eden District Council will now have to reject the planning application or face a legal challenge in the court.”
Eden Council planners are expected to consider the nine-turbine application this Spring, possibly April.
On Thursday, Eden planners are being asked to decide whether a 150ft mast can be erected at the Berrier site. Planning officers have recommended permission be granted for the anemometer mast, to measure wind speed.
The application has been made by Berrier Hill Wind Energy, a subsidiary of Flintshire-based West Coast Energy Ltd, the company which brought the controversial Whinash windfarm proposal, which was eventually turned down after a public enquiry.
Berrier Hill Wind Energy Ltd, which is assessing the viability of the land for power generation, says the mast is necessary to collect wind data to predict long term average wind speeds.
If permission for the mast is granted it would last for a limited period of three years.
15 January 2008
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