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Council will spend £60,000 fighting wind farm

Opponents of the building of the district’s first wind farm have welcomed news that Vale Royal Borough Council has pledged money to fight it.

At a meeting on June 12, executive group councillors agreed to a proposal to spend £60,000 to support their case to refuse planning for the wind farm at Aston Grange when it goes to a public inquiry.

Tegni Cymru lodged an appeal against the council’s decision to refuse them planning in August 2007. A public inquiry will be held to determine the future of the project on August 19, and will last for six days.

The money has been sourced from the £100,000 budget previously allocated for the Ince Marshes inquiry.

That inquiry, held in March, is expected to cost £78,600. Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council contributed £50,000 towards the costs in addition to the money from Vale Royal.

But as a result there is money left over, which Vale Royal Borough Council will use to fight the wind farm developers.

Jonathan Newsham, from action group Stop Aston Windfarm, said: “SAW are pleased to see that Vale Royal Borough Council is serious in its efforts to support its original planning decision to dismiss the application.

“SAW are also still fundraising for their own appointed advocate, Geoffrey Sinclair and would welcome donations to the appeal via the website stopastonwindfarm.org.”

Clr John Turnbull, lead councillor for community safeguards, said there was a lot of concern from the public about the plans and that the money would be spent on representation.

“We decided to appoint an independent person to appear for us at the inquiry,” he added.

Ms T Douglas, has been selected to be the barrister to present the council’s case.

By James Wilson

This Is Cheshire

20 June 2008