Plans for a wind farm in Northumberland look set to be decided at a public inquiry after the developer lodged an appeal.
Developer RES has submitted an appeal to the planning inspectorate after Northumberland County Council failed to determine its planning application for a wind farm at Park Head, north of Netherwitton, inside planning timeframes.
The application for nine 127-metre turbines was submitted to Alnwick District Council in March 2009, before that authority was replaced by the county council.
Developers can appeal on the grounds of non-determination if the local authority does not make a decision inside 16 weeks. RES can request its application be examined at a public inquiry following which a decision will be made by a planning inspector.
The council last night insisted the application has not been determined because the developer has not provided information requested of it. A similar claim has been made by the council in relation to a proposed wind farm at Kirkharle, which has also been appealed on non-determination grounds.
The Park Head application has previously attracted opposition from local residents and the Wingates not Wind Farms action group.
The group is concerned at the cumulative impact of the scheme with others in the vicinity of Wingates from Novera, Coronation Power, Energy for All and BT. It also fears the turbines will ruin uninterrupted views of open countryside, including the Simonside Hills and Northumberland National Park, and create unwanted noise.
Last night, action group chairman John Thompson said: “The fact the planning people still consider they have not got enough information, it just seems that they are following on from the Kirkharle one, they thought we will do that as well. By taking it to the inspectorate, they are cutting out the views of the local people.
“It just means we have to go through another process, this is just one application in this area and if they all go down this route we are having to react twice to every application.”
A council spokesperson said: “As part of the appraisal of the wind turbine application, we requested from the applicant further information, in particular additional ecological survey work and landscape and visual impact assessments.
“This information remained outstanding, and because of this the council has not been able to determine the application.
“The applicant does however have the right to appeal the application if the council does not determine the application within 16 weeks and this has now happened.”
Daniel Leahy, project manager for the proposed wind farm, said: “Now that our appeal has been submitted, the planning inspectorate will arrange for a public inquiry to take place locally, and this will enable all interested parties to participate in the decision and to have their views represented, including the council and the communities living around the proposed wind farm.
“We would expect an inquiry to be scheduled in spring 2011, with a decision reached soon after.”
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