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Disputed route to windfarm faces the axe  

Credit:  Simon Coyle, Rochdale Observer, menmedia.co.uk 30 July 2011 ~~

A plan to build a controversial access route through Shawforth to the Crook Hill wind farm could be scrapped.

Planners at Rossendale Council had been expected to make a decision on whether to give the A671 access road, 2km east of Whitworth, the go-ahead at a meeting on Wednesday.

But the decision has now been postponed while officers at Rochdale Council considers a new application to vary current planning conditions – which would cut loads and reduce the number of vehicles turning off the A671 on to Landgate.

A spokesman from Rossendale Council said: “Officers were recommending that the committee refuse planning permission on the basis that the application proposed a significant number of vehicle movements through the Landgate/Market Street junction which the applicant may be able to avoid.

“The applicant has now submitted an application to Rochdale Council to vary conditions on the extant planning permission for the part of Middle Hill Quarry within its administrative area.

“Coronation Power has stated that if this is approved by Rochdale Council it would enable the Crook Hill windfarm scheme to significantly reduce and perhaps eliminate the need to import stone through the Landgate/Market Street junction.”

Councillors and residents in Whitworth and Shawforth were concerned the new access route would lead to unsustainable traffic movements through the junction of Landgate and Market Street.

Whitworth councillor David Barnes has claimed the access road, which runs through Middle Hill Quarry and over Rough Hill, could potentially destroy priceless iron age and Viking archaeology, in the absence of a full ground survey.

These plans had already been approved by Rochdale Council but required the consent of Rossendale.

Last month members of Rochdale’s planning committee were warned the authority could face significant legal costs if they blocked the proposal

A spokesman for Rochdale Borough Council said: “The application has been received and is currently under consideration.

“We are aiming to reach a decision by August 22.”

No-one at Coronation Power was available for comment.

Plans to build the wind farm were opposed by Rochdale council in 2008 but approved on appeal to the Secretary of State the following year.

The 12 turbines proposed by Coronation Power will be 125 metres high.

Seven would be sited in Rochdale and the remaining five over the Calderdale border.

Coronation Power bosses hope the wind farm will be completed late next year.

Source:  Simon Coyle, Rochdale Observer, menmedia.co.uk 30 July 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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