A senior councillor has been urged to consider his position – and think about resigning – in the wake of controversy over plans for a wind turbine on farmland which he owns in Northumberland.
Peter Jackson, the leader of the Conservative opposition group on the county council, has angered locals who claim he has not been open enough about his knowledge of the proposed turbine on land at East Coldcoats Farm near Ponteland.
Now a group of objectors say he should give serious thought to resigning as the local councillor, after he admitted he was wrong to initially deny any knowledge of the planning application.
The Journal revealed a month ago how the 77.9-metre high turbine is proposed on land owned by Coun Jackson, who originally claimed he had no knowledge of the application until it was lodged with the authority. He denied being actively involved in the proposal and also refused to say whether he supported it, or would allow the turbine to be built on his land.
Angry neighbours called on him to make clear his views on the application, and said he was “asking people to stretch their imagination a little” in denying any involvement.
A week later Coun Jackson admitted he had been wrong to say he had known nothing of the application until it was submitted. He said: “It is true that I was contacted by George F White about the possibility of a planning application, ahead of it being submitted.
“However, I was not aware of the details or timescale of the planning procedures, which is what I meant to express previously, albeit imperfectly. I accept that I might have been clearer on this point.”
Now local objectors to the turbine, who held a meeting last weekend, say Coun Jackson’s comments have “cast doubt on the integrity of the system”.
Yesterday Gerald Vineberg, who lives with wife and three children at East Coldcoats, 470 metres from the proposed turbine, said: “We feel Coun Jackson should consider his position, and I personally think he should resign as a councillor.
“If he is unaware of the planning procedures, as he says, should he be representing the people of Ponteland?”
Retired David Elliott, 68, whose Smallburn home would be 700 metres from the turbine, said: “I think Peter Jackson needs to very carefully consider his position in view of some of the comments he has made.”
Coun Jackson, who lives at Belsay near Ponteland, has denied being the applicant behind the scheme. It was submitted on behalf of Green Energy Ponteland Ltd by land agent George F White. Almost 50 people have objected to the application, along with Ponteland’s town council and civic society, Northumbria Police and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Next week county councillors will be recommended by their planning officer to approve it.
Coun Jackson was unavailable for comment last night.
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