A public referendum is to be held over windfarm plans that have divided a Cumbrian community.
Durham-based wind energy company Banks Renewables wants to put up two wind-monitoring test masts on land to the north of Brampton.
If the tests provide the right results, that could lead to about 40 turbines being erected over three sites – Stone Chest, Black Knors and Mossgrove, east of Longtown.
A planning application for the test masts was submitted to Carlisle City Council late last year and parish councils in each area have been asked for their views and comments on the plans.
On Monday night, Bewcastle parish council opened up its monthly meeting so that local residents could air their views – and said opinion was so divided it has now decided to hold a public referendum.
Despite bad weather, an estimated 150 people turned up to hear presentations from both energy company representatives and Cumbrian anti-windfarm campaign group NOWT.
Chairwoman Barbara Smith said that, although the Black Knors site is in the heart of Bewcastle parish, there is also interest in the Stone Chest site as any development would also be visible to a lot of people in the area.
But, she added, not everyone was opposed to the plans.
“There is quite a deep division in the community about windfarms,” she said.
“As a parish council we aim to represent the views of everyone in the parish. We want to give people a chance to have their say.”
As a result, Bewcastle parish council has written back to the city council planners explaining it will now hold a public referendum – full details of which are now being drawn up and will be announced soon.
Hethersgill parish council also met this week to discuss the test mast on the Mossgrove site, which spans its border.
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