A leading Tory district councillor is on a collision course with party colleagues over plans to build a wind farm on his land.
Energy company Airvolution has submitted a planning application to erect four 126.5metre-high turbines at Agney Farm, Old Romney.
The agricultural land belongs to the family of Councillor Alan Clifton-Holt, Shepway’s cabinet member for economic development with planning one of his responsibilities. He is also the ward councillor for the area.
But the plan faces opposition, not only from residents but from other councillors, including Tories.
Lib Dem Lydd town councillor Ted Last said: “I am not against wind farms per se, rather it is their effect on the seen environment, their cost-effectiveness and contribution to the local community.
“As I see it this scheme fails on all three counts, with all the benefits going to one person and the detrimental aspects suffered by the local people at large.”
Conservative MP Damian Collins said last week that he was opposed to any new wind farm being built on the Marsh, as did district councillor Terry Mullard.
Councillor Russell Tillson said no wind turbine project had ever proved to be of benefit. New Romney mayor Roger Joynes and Marsh county councillor Carole Walters have also spoken against the project.
Cllr Clifton-Holt said he will play no part in the decision and has declined to discuss the matter further. He said: “I don’t want to influence the planning decision in any way so I cannot discuss it. It would be an abuse of my position if I did.
“I am obviously aware that the residents of Romney Marsh and my fellow councillors have their own views on wind farms, and that public comments, along with other considerations, will be part of the decision-making process.”
The building of wind farms on the Marsh – there is a 26-turbine farm at Cheyne Court four miles outside Lydd, and other projects are proposed for Snave and Sellindge – has provoked opposition from residents.
Action groups opposed to wind farms have quickly formed under an umbrella organisation called Save Our Marsh, Block Rural Exploitation (Sombre).
In a statement, the group said: “We are delighted that our MP, Damian Collins, and our county councillor Carole Waters are supporting our campaign. However, we are also disappointed that our district councillor is unable to proffer support.”
An application to build a huge solar farm on a 114-acre site the Clifton-Holt family also owns at Sycamore Farm, Old Romney was agreed recently by Shepway’s development committee, despite the site being classed as Grade A agricultural land.
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