November 27, 2012

Planned Cornhill wind turbine axed after protest

by Brian Daniel, The Journal | Nov 27 2012 |

A controversial wind turbine proposal in Northumberland has been withdrawn amid criticism from national park chiefs.

The application for an engine near Cornhill yielded more than 40 objections but was nevertheless approved by council bosses.

However, that decision was then quashed following a judicial review.

Now the application has been withdrawn ahead of its redetermination after national park planners ruled it was deficient in information.

The withdrawal was last night welcomed by the objector who led the judicial review although the applicant said a new proposal could be submitted.

The application was for a 275kW turbine, with a hub 55m high and a 32m rotor diameter, at Wark Common, submitted by Straker-Smith Farms.

It sparked 41 letters from residents as well as one parish council.

Yet a planning officer at Northumberland County Council recommended approval, and members followed that advice in February.

However, Cornhill farmer Andrew Joicey launched a review against the approval, accusing the council of procedural errors.

The authority conceded it had erred in some areas and its decision was subsequently quashed by the High Court in London.

The council carried out further consultation ahead of redetermining the application.

As part of that Northumberland National Park Authority wrote to the council saying it considered the information provided to be deficient in terms of the level of landscape and visual impact work undertaken.

Now it has emerged that the proposal has been withdrawn by the applicants.

Mr Joicey said: “The news of the withdrawal of this application is obviously greeted with enormous, though cautious, relief.

“It seems that the applicant has … thankfully decided to abandon plans to build this large wind turbine in this unsuitable location.

“If this is the case, Mr Straker-Smith deserves respect and recognition from his neighbours that he is, after all, a gentleman who has listened to the concerns of members of the local community upon which this application would undoubtedly have had a significant and unpopular impact.”

Peter Straker-Smith last night said there had been a technical problem with the particular turbine model at the site which was why the application was withdrawn.

He said there may be a new application with a different turbine model.

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