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Wind farm woe for villagers  

Credit:  Pocklington Post, www.pocklingtonpost.co.uk ~~

Villagers say they will be forced to “grit their teeth” and live with a wind farm on their door step after planners gave a hugely-controversial project the go-ahead.

As expected, the planning committee at East Riding Council approved the application for five massive turbines to be built on land near to Sancton, despite objections from locals.

Many had even protested outside County Hall in Beverley for last Thursday’s meeting.

They have been fighting to have the plans rejected for two years amidst fears that the turbines will have a serious visual impact on the landscape and affect property prices. They will stand at 328ft and generate electricity for thousands of homes.

The decision was passed by the committee with a majority of 12 to 3, much to the disdain of the residents.

Speaking afterwards, local campaigner Tony Williams, said: “The result was most disappointing, but I guess it was inevitable in all the circumstances.

“Sancton Parish Council certainly can’t afford to appeal against the decision, so we will just have to grit our teeth and get used to living with the consequences of the planning committee’s decision.”

Applicant Cornwall Light and Power (CLP) had their initial 
blueprints rejected in March 2009, but the latest application was 
accepted after planning officials 
felt they had addressed the concerns.

Some felt that the latest application was bolstered by a wind farm scheme at Sober Hill, North Newbald, that was given planning permission earlier this year and will see six similar turbines built. Councillors even admitted there was little point in blocking the Sancton plan to have it approved on appeal, as happened with North Newbald.

Despite this, there was anger directed at those on the planning committee who were accused of ignoring the residents’ view.

Most notably, local ward representative Councillor David Rudd even offered his support to the scheme.

Mr Williams said: “Councillor Rudd, speaking not as a member of the planning committee but as one of our ward councillors, claimed that most people in Sancton were happy to have the wind turbines but were afraid to express that view openly.

“That comment surprised us, as it was directly contrary to the views expressed by residents at a recent meeting, when in a secret ballot a significant majority voted against the proposals, as they had done at an earlier meeting held two years ago, when CLP’s proposals first came to the fore.

“One thing that particularly concerned me was that the planning officers, in their submission to the planning committee, presented a long list of organisations that were said to have no objection to the proposals.

“That list consisted almost entirely of organisations that were satisfied that their operational activities would not be affected by the wind turbines – for example, the RAF were content that there would be no hazard in relation to air navigation, Yorkshire Water were content that the water table would not be affected.

“These are all remote organisations, none of which will have to live in close proximity to the turbines.

“Our views as local residents didn’t really feature.

“What was particularly annoying was that one speaker in effect went so far as to say that because both the Sancton Hill and Sober Hill sites are already littered with unsightly rubbish such as electricity pylons, radio masts, etc, the addition of wind turbines would not have a detrimental effect.

“So much for the Wolds being vaunted as an area of scenic beauty and high landscape value.”

On a positive note, it is thought that CLP must make a compensation payment to the local community for the work set to be carried out.

Mr Williams added: “We will be looking at the ways and means of setting up such a trust fund and hope that, despite the planning committee’s decision, the local community will be able to reap some benefit from all this.”

Source:  Pocklington Post, www.pocklingtonpost.co.uk

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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