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High-speed juggernaut is crushing village in its path

I have written to the Echo previously to describe an example of “the insolence of office” which occurred in Beckingham.

The official juggernaut has now rolled forward in the form of a pre-application forum held in the council chamber in Sleaford on Monday evening.

The developer was given the opportunity to give a powerpoint presentation of his proposals for a wind farm near the village.

The presentation was delivered at a galloping pace and appeared to have given high significance to the guidance given in the planner’s official screening opinion.

This had advised that the official view was that the proposed wind farm was located in surroundings featuring relatively few dwellings in an area of no environmental significance.

Because of this dismissal of significance, it seems that effects on only two or three farms were considered and a minimal ecological survey was based on a one-day walk around fields occupied by thousands of chickens.

Effects on the wider area and the village did not seem to have been worthy of consideration.

Forty accredited representatives of the village attended the forum but were not allowed to speak or to make comment, although their campaign banner was recognised.

Questions raised by councillors present were glossed over or evaded by the developer, who declared that he did not have the information to hand.

And this, despite the 60 weeks or more he had taken to prepare the application.

The developer admitted this wind farm was the first he had dealt with that was close to a village and his whole presentation gave me an uncomfortable feeling of shallowness and remoteness from the real-life issues.

I had always understood that, when the juggernaut was rolled forward during religious festivals in India, only believers would throw themselves under its wheels as a demonstration of devotion.

In the case of Beckingham, it seems that only objectors will be cast under the wheels of the official juggernaut as it rolls ponderously forward.

Those attending were firmly advised that objections can only be made after the developer decides to make a formal planning application and then only in compliance with strict rules.

Residents of Beckingham will definitely object in a determined effort to defend their village and way of life against the spurious benefits to the nation represented by these three inefficient turbines.

Thier energy contribution would be negligible compared to that already produced by the 3,153 existing turbines in the UK and will be even less significant when, in future, another 6,500 or more are constructed.

How will residents’ loss of amenity be weighed in the planning balance against a trivial theoretical gain to the nation’s power supply and a considerable subsidy contribution to the developer’s finances?

ROBERT SHEPPARD Hillside, Beckingham.