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Villagers braced for another turbine fight  

Credit:  By Julian Whittle, News & Star, www.newsandstar.co.uk 17 January 2012 ~~

Villagers at Cumwhinton near Carlisle will have to fight another public inquiry if they are to stop a 328ft-high wind turbine from being built near their homes.

Bolsterstone Innovative Energy has appealed against Carlisle City Council’s decision to refuse planning consent for a single turbine at Newlands Farm near junction 42 of the M6.

The firm originally wanted to put three 377ft turbines there.

That scheme was thrown out in 2010 after an inquiry, prompting Bolsterstone to table two more planning applications – one for a single turbine, the other for two.

Both brought more than 1,100 objections and were rejected by councillors in November on the grounds that the turbines would be too close to Cringles Farm and Beech Cottage.

Now Bolsterstone’s appeal will be heard by a planning inspector.

The inquiry is likely to be held at Carlisle Civic Centre in late May or June.

News of the appeal has dismayed opponents of the scheme.

Allison Stamper lives at Cringles Farm, 460 yards from the proposed turbine.

She said: “I am angry and extremely disappointed. These wind energy companies keep coming back and coming back, which is totally unfair. It causes people stress and financial hardship.”

Villagers raised £25,000 to fight the last inquiry. They hope the bill will be smaller this time, given that much of their evidence can be resubmitted.

To date, Bolsterstone has appealed only against refusal of the application for a single turbine but it has not ruled out an appeal against refusal of its plan for two.

Inspector Paul Griffiths, who chaired the 2009 inquiry, ruled that the windfarm would have “a significant, detrimental effect” on the quality of life of residents of Cringles Farm and Beech Cottage.

Bolsterstone argues that its latest scheme is less obtrusive. To muddy the waters, the city council recently approved in principle plans for four retirement bungalows and 10 affordable homes on land next to Beech Cottage. These would also be close to the proposed turbine.

Campaigners have the support of Carlisle MP John Stevenson and Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart. They point out that a Private Members’ Bill working its way through the House of Lords would prevent a turbine of the size proposed from being built within two kilometres of someone’s home.

However, there is no chance the Wind Turbines (Minimum Distances from Residential Premises) Bill will become law before Bolsterstone’s appeal is heard.

The Isle of Man government wants to open up Manx waters for offshore windfarms. It is proposing to allow developments which could be as close as 18 miles to the Cumbrian coast.

Source:  By Julian Whittle, News & Star, www.newsandstar.co.uk 17 January 2012

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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