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Wind farm fears for North Herts  

Credit:  By Ewan Foskett, The Comet, www.thecomet.net 26 May 2011 ~~

Fears a wind farm could be built on the North Herts border have been sparked by the planned installation of a 35 metre tall monitoring tower

Central Bedfordshire Council granted permission to place the cabled structure, which supports wind measuring equipment, on Wilbury Farm, Arlesey, earlier this month.

A decision opposed by Arlesey Town Council and 95 nearby residents.

Hugh Harper, the town’s mayor, said: “We did oppose it because we feel that it’s the start of an investigation on having a wind farm there.

“They put the monitoring device up which they have got to look at wind resistance, and then they will put an application in for a wind farm which we will oppose.

“I don’t think residents really know about it because they’re just monitoring the wind and they haven’t been consulted about it.”

Mr Harper’s worries are shared by the neighbouring Ickleford Parish Council.

Central Beds did not consult the authority, as it lies outside its jurisdiction, but it wrote a letter of objection after discovering the application.

Complaints included the lack of consultation, the perceived effect on nearby business and worries over the impact on wildlife.

“We looked at it because it was on our parish boundary,” said parish clerk Katrina Henshaw.

“We were concerned as to what the residents and the businesses in our area feel.”

The Hitchin Road application was aided by chartered surveyors and rural property consultants Fisher German LLP acting on behalf of F J Whitman & Sons.

The Comet spoke to the agent who worked on the case but he would not reveal any information about his client.

Another opponent of the development, Hitchin Lavender, could not shed any light on the applicant.

The family business distributed protest postcards to homes in Ickleford which residents sent to Central Beds if they disapproved of the planned structure, which will be there for 18 months.

“We would be very unhappy if a wind farm were to dominate the lavender,” said Nick Hunter.

“We are disappointed that there are plans for a wind farm at such a beautiful location.”

Central Beds would not comment on the proposal but the planning document implies there may ultimately be a wind farm sited in Arlesey.

The report states: “Should the results of the monitoring indicate that wind energy generation may be viable in this location the applicant is advised to discuss noise monitoring proposals with Public Protection at an early stage.”

North Hertfordshire District Council declined to comment on the temporary structure when asked by Central Beds.

However Cadwell ward councillor Tricia Cowley said if the application goes further she would hope to be able to make representations.

Cllr Cowley, who is also NHDC’s portfolio holder for community engagement and rural affairs, said: “If there was a wind farm there it would be highly visible from Letchworth GC, Ickleford and Hitchin.

“I’m sure the people of Fairfield Park are particularly upset about it.

“Until the monitoring is done and until the results of that are known there’s not an awful lot we can do.”

Source:  By Ewan Foskett, The Comet, www.thecomet.net 26 May 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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