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Wind turbine public meeting ruled out

Planning officials say they will not be holding a public meeting about a host of wind turbine proposals – despite residents’ demands.

The Furness Windturbine Action Group had called for a consultation into numerous planning applications which have been submitted to Barrow Borough Council.

Wind turbines applications recently submitted include proposals for two 54.5-metre turbines at Bowesfield Farm in Stank, one 25-metre turbine at Billincote Farm near Dalton, two 15-metre turbines at Barrow House Farm at Newton, a 54.5-metre turbine at Newholme Farm, Rampside, and a 15-metre turbine at Lindal Cote Farm.

The action group is worried the applications could lead to an influx of turbines being built on farmland, as companies are offering farmers money to build turbines on their land.

The group wants the community to know more about the impact that could have on the area.

And members think a public meeting is essential for people to understand the turbine applications and discuss their views on them.

But Jason Hipkiss, principal planning officer at the borough council, said it would not organise a public meeting.

He said: “If people want to organise them themselves and have a discussion amongst themselves, that’s fine, but we will be treating them as normal planning applications.”

Reacting to the news, Alan Stoker, one of the action group’s founder members, said: “The group will discuss our position at our next meeting, which is due to be held in the next seven days.

“We will take the council’s comments on board and discuss them further, but the high likelihood is that we will arrange a public meeting.”

Mr Hipkiss points out all planning applications are displayed on the council’s website, and at the town hall, for people to give their opinions on.

He said: “I think it’s a common misconception that because you don’t receive a letter, you can’t comment on the application.

“That is a total myth.

“Anyone can go on our website and comment on any application.”

Mr Hipkiss says each application will be dealt with individually on its own merits.

But he said: “There will be some material considerations to be taken into account. One of those, particularly with wind turbines, is the cumulative impact generally.

“That takes into account not only the applications that we’ve got, but also other windfarms already in the area and other structures such as pylons. It’s all looked at as part of the overall visual impact.”