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D-day for controversial wind farm  

Controversial plans for a wind farm in a Chorley village are set to be decided at an inquiry after a last-ditch attempt to save the scheme was launched.
Damien Culshaw was refused planning permission for three 260ft three turbines on Cliff’s Farm, Mawdesley, by Chorley Council planners in September 2007 because it infringes the greenbelt.

Now the farmer’s son has appealed the decision and hopes a government inspector will back his scheme in a final attempt to create a renewable energy source for the area.

He said: “My contention is that the intrusion into greenbelt reason given for refusal should not be used for objection. It is designed to stop urban sprawl and wind turbines in no way spoil the openness of the countryside or create urban sprawl.

“The appeal will take the matter out of the local arena with its local politics. I was disappointed with the council’s decision given their policies in place to support renewable energy.”

The proposal sparked a heated reaction from other residents, who insist the proposal is in the wrong place.

Barry Bibby, chairman of Mawdesley Against Wind Farms (MAWF) said: “It’s out of our hands now, it’s a matter between Chorley Council and the government inspector.

“We still feel it’s a totally misguided application which won’t produce a decent amount of renewable energy and at the same time completely wrecks one of the most tranquil landscapes in Lancashire.

“We are concerned that we have not been informed about the appeal, and are hoping they find no reason to reverse the refusal.”

The application for three turbines was originally submitted in October 2006, but was withdrawn due to Natural England’s environmental concerns.

It was resubmitted in June 2007 and was eventually turned down by the council’s development control committee four months later for noise impact and intrusion on to greenbelt land.

In February 2008 one of the grounds for refusal – noise levels – was withdrawn after Mr Culshaw submitted an in-depth study.

The application has been dogged by controversy. An early public display of the plans at Mawdesley Village Hall was barracked by members of the MAWF.

Mr Culshaw added: “Everybody that had their say can do so again and I hope people engage with the process. My preference would be to have the appeal by written submissions rather than a public inquiry because it would keep the heat out of the debate.”

He estimates that any decision is at least six months off, and that the scheme, which started two years before the first application, has so far cost him ‘tens of thousands of pounds’.

Chorley Guardian

24 April 2008

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