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Why weren't we told of meeting?  

A brace of Heath Hayes residents have slammed their village council over its handling of bombshell plans for a wind farm.

They claim locals were left in the dark over a local public meeting for the scheme, earmarked for the former Bleak House opencast site. They only knew of the event after it had taken place – via local radio.

The stinging comments come amid claims that only some of the village’s residents received a questionnaire, seeking resident’s views on the development, while others didn’t.

Peter and Judith Groves, of Brisbane Way, told The Post: “We would like to make our views public over the way Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Parish Council has conducted itself over the proposed wind farm at Bleak House.

“We are not surprised that only 20 people turned up as we, residents of Brisbane Way, did not know of the meeting until after the event when it was covered on local radio.

“Surely we should have received formal notification and invitation to such an important meeting?

“It has also come to our attention that some residents in Wimblebury have had questionnaires delivered to them, but this apparently has not happened to every single household that will be effected by the proposals.”

“What selection criteria was used in deciding which households received this questionnaire?”

The questionnaires were not from the parish council, however.

But Ray Smythe, Parish Council Clerk for Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Parish Council, explained: “All our meetings are scheduled a week in advance and published at every meeting. The minutes and agenda for more than the last four years are on our web-site.

“Also, the meetings for the next four years are on the website. We publish a newsletter in the Chase Post four times a year in which the forthcoming meetings are advertised. We are the only Parish Council in the Cannock Chase area with Quality Status and in the top four per cent nationwide. Last year, out of 10,000 councils, we were shortlisted in the top seven for Council of the Year, showing that we do engage with the community and all our activities are open, recorded and published.

“The Bleak House wind farm is not a recent issue. It has been planned for a considerable time and has been subject of several press, radio and TV reports. It has also been discussed at council meetings, and this proposal has been expected and advertised for several months. The planning authority is Cannock Chase Council, and any person who wants to express a view can contact that authority.

“As regards Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Council, we had a public meeting in November 2007, at which there was a presentation from Harworth Power. Recently, we found out that Harworth Power were to make further presentations in the area on February 6 and we asked them to provide an additional presentation in Heath Hayes. We are the only area where there have been two public presentations.

“As regards the questionnaire that Mrs Groves refers to, I have had no involvement with it, in fact, I have no knowledge of any parish council involvement. Perhaps if there are queries that people want the parish council to answer, perhaps they would consider contacting a councillor or the clerk.

“The details for the February meeting were then passed to be advertised in the local media and radio. There was a Radio WM reporter at the meeting who recorded the proceedings and the matter was discussed at length the next morning on Radio WM. Prior to the meeting, it was reported at least three times on BBC TV as well as being on local noticeboards and on our website.”

ings, and this proposal has been expected and advertised for several months. The planning authority is Cannock Chase Council, and any person who wants to express a view can contact that authority.

“As regards Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Council, we had a public meeting in November 2007, at which there was a presentation from Harworth Power. Recently, we found out that Harworth Power were to make further presentations in the area on February 6 and we asked them to provide an additional presentation in Heath Hayes. We are the only area where there have been two public presentations.

“As regards the questionnaire that Mrs Groves refers to, I have had no involvement with it, in fact, I have no knowledge of any parish council involvement. Perhaps if there are queries that people want the parish council to answer, perhaps they would consider contacting a councillor or the clerk.

“The details for the February meeting were then passed to be advertised in the local media and radio. There was a Radio WM reporter at the meeting who recorded the proceedings and the matter was discussed at length the next morning on Radio WM. Prior to the meeting, it was reported at least three times on BBC TV as well as being on local noticeboards and on our website.”

By Mike Bradley

icCannock

21 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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