Residents concerned about plans for a wind farm in High Green have challenged Sheffield Council over the amount of public consultation that will be carried out.
Cabinet members voted to give officers permission to identify a developer for the proposed project at Westwood Country Park – needed as part of the city’s commitment to produce more renewable energy.
But during the meeting High Green resident Dixie Barraclough said: “Like a lot of residents of High Green, my house will directly overlook the proposed site.
“How much effort has gone into informing residents about the proposals so far? I only received information on Thursday and when I asked other residents of High Green, 90 per cent didn’t know about the plans and were appalled.”
Mrs Barraclough told councillors residents are concerned about issues such as vibration and the effect on television reception.
The scheme is the only wind farm under consideration at present.
Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for sustainable environment, said: “It’s a very sensitive issue and important that we consult widely with the local community, all local stakeholders and users of the park.
“I’ll be keen to get as much environmental benefit as we can.”
Consultation with the community is likely to be carried out by the developer and during the planning process, the meeting was told.
Coun David Baker, deputy leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, said: “We support wind farms in principle and we fully supported the bid to evaluate and develop appropriate sites in Sheffield as it’s important we all do our bit to mitigate climate change.
“In this instance it seems that consultation with the local community hasn’t been given enough importance in the whole process.
“Rather than leave it to the developer to consult when one is chosen, which could be months down the line, the council must be pro-active and begin talk to local residents immediately.
“Our local councillors who represent the area have organised a special public meeting of the North Area Panel on the issue.”
The meeting takes place at Lound Junior School, Loundside, Chapeltown, on Wednesday March 12, from 6.45pm.
n SHEFFIELD Council’s budget plans for the coming financi
al year have moved on to the next stage after being approved by the authority’s cabinet.
The proposals, which involve a council tax increase of just 2.8 per cent, must now be put to a final vote by the full council next month.
Green Party councillors have hit back at Lib Dems, whose leader Paul Scriven accused them of “lacking the decency” to consult with them before announcing they were backing Labour.
Coun Jillian Creasy, of the Greens, said: “If the Lib Dems were serious about getting their proposals approved, they should have come to us. Because we have negotiated with Labour, there are some Green proposals coming through.”
These include New Year’s Day buses, more money for pedestrian crossings and assistance for residents to help them save energy.
By Richard Marsden
14 February 2008