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Thwarted wind developers are set to return  

Credit:  By Julian Whittle, The Cumberland News, www.cumberlandnews.co.uk 14 January 2011 ~~

Fresh proposals for wind turbines at Newlands Farm, near Cumwhinton, on the outskirts of Carlisle, are likely to be tabled in March.

Bolsterstone Innovative Energy’s plans for three 377ft-high turbines, near M6 junction 42, were thrown out last year following a public inquiry.

Planning inspector Paul Griffiths ruled that the windfarm would have had a “significant detrimental impact” on nearby Cringles Farm and Beech Cottage.

But he appeared to leave the door open for a smaller-scale scheme by granting Bolsterstone permission for a meteorological mast to gather data on wind speed and direction. Bolsterstone has now confirmed that it will be submitting two new planning applications – one for two turbines, the other for just one.

Each would generate enough electricity to supply around 1,200 homes.

The total investment in the scheme would be £6m-£7m.

Bolsterstone director Mike Corker said: “The turbines will be smaller, 100 metres [328ft] in height. We’re wanting to address the inspector’s comments.

“He said that the proximity and spread of the turbines would make them appear dominant. Obviously, if you take three turbines in a line and take one away, you’ve halved the spread.”

But Allison Stamper, of Cringles Farm, said: “These new applications are nothing more than the developers trying their hand in the hope that Carlisle City Council, the public, and the action group will simply roll over and not continue to fight what is clearly still a very intrusive development.

“The token reduction in size is an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes.

“At the distances involved, the reduction would be unnoticeable given the scale of the development. Each turbine is still almost 20 metres taller than Dixon’s Chimney.

“The first application was rejected due to its proximity and visual impact on Cumwhinton, and I cannot see how that has changed significantly.”

Bolsterstone’s original planning application was refused in 2008.

The city council argued that the turbines would be “seriously detrimental” to the landscape. Bolsterstone appealed, triggering a public inquiry in 2009.

Mr Griffiths, who chaired the inquiry, accepted that the turbines would cause “some harm” to the landscape but said this would not be “significant”.

He also rejected arguments that the turbines would create unacceptable levels of noise, shadow flicker, pose a safety hazard to drivers on the M6 and harm tourism.

But he was persuaded that Cringles Farm and Beech Cottage were too close. Cringles would have been only 450 yards from the nearest turbine.

Mr Griffiths’ report said: “The cluster would appear uncomfortably close [to Cringles Farm].

“The proximity of the turbine cluster and its spread would make it appear dominant and overpowering from the principal windows of the main house. This domineering presence would have a significant, detrimental effect on the living conditions of the occupiers.”

Bolsterstone’s planning application was one of the most contentious ever handled by the city council.

The authority received 1,300 objections while 242 people wrote in support.

Source:  By Julian Whittle, The Cumberland News, www.cumberlandnews.co.uk 14 January 2011

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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