Unsightly electric cables and pylons could mar some of Thornbury’s historic sites if the company behind the proposed Oldbury wind farm wins its appeal.
The grid connection from the wind farm to a substation in Alveston would pass through the town’s cemetery, the Daggs allotments and the Mundy Playing Fields, the Gazette can reveal.
Developer Wind Prospect did not include the map of this route in their original planning application submitted on September 10 last year, but suggested to the council it would pass round the east side of Thornbury.
It took the firm eight months before finally sending the indicative drawing to South Gloucestershire Council, which in fact shows the grid connection passing through a different and more contentious route to the west of Thornbury, through the cemetery and Daggs allotments, rather than to the east.
The map was only submitted three working days before the development control committee held on March 17, 2011, and was not shown to committee members. They rejected the application anyway and Wind Prospect is appealing against the decision.
Hill Parish Council chairman Thomas Jenner-Fust said: “I am very disappointed to discover that this aspect of the plan seems to have been kept from the planning committee and that Thornbury residents have not been consulted about a plan that affects them.”
Thornbury town councillors were not informed that the proposed route would pass through the town.
Town clerk Judith Payne said: “I’ve never seen a copy of the map and I doubt that the members have seen it, otherwise they would have mentioned it. I was not aware that we would be at the heart of the grid connection.”
If the appeal succeeds, no further application will be required to build the grid connection as proposed on the map.
Wind Prospect senior development officer Jonny Murphy said: “The suggested grid connection route included in our planning application for Stoneyard Lane was put together following consultation with EON Central Networks in summer 2010.
“It was suggested by us that the route would be to the east of Thornbury, when in fact it would potentially be to the west, as shown on the response to the application by EON in March 2011.
“This was an error on our part, however, the route remains indicative, since the actual route would not be finalised until such time as a formal grid connection application is made. “Due to the lengthy planning timescales, it is not appropriate to submit this connection application until a planning permission for the wind farm is received, since there would be a limited time in which any grid connection offer could be accepted. “We will clarify this matter with both South Gloucestershire Council and the Planning Inspectorate.”