March 20, 2013

Appeal lodged over six-turbine Cumbrian windfarm

By Jenny Barwise | New & Star | 20 March 2013 |

A new fight has started over plans for a six-turbine windfarm near Frizington.

Copeland councillors have refused the scheme at Weddicar Rigg twice but applicants Banks Renewables has now lodged an appeal.

And Copeland council has already began the battle to stop its decision being overturned by appointing a barrister to defend the planning panel’s ruling.

In a report to Copeland’s full council meeting, which takes place tomorrow, councillor George Clements, the authority’s spokesman for planning, details the steps that Copeland is taking after finding out about the appeal.

He said that Copeland is in discussions with the planning inspectorate over the timing of the inquiry, but he expected it to be considered over the summer.

“The council has appointed a barrister, well versed in appeal inquiries relating to wind turbines, who has been able to provide input into the initial stages of preparing for the council’s case to defend the decision to refuse the planning application,” said Mr Clements.

He added that letters have been sent out to those who objected to the initial application.

Some 662 letters of objection were submitted against the application from residents, with 124 letters of support.

If the company’s appeal is approved, it would see a six-turbine development on an elevated area of land between Moresby Parks and Frizington.

Frizington counciloor Jon Downie said that people living in the area were concerned about the size of the turbines.

However, he did stress that there was a number of people in the Frizington community who were supporting the scheme because of the financial benefits it would bring.

Mr Downie said that as well as the size of the six turbines – 377ft in height – worrying people, there was also the fear of the “collective impact” they would have.

One of the objectors, John Vout, told councillors at last year’s planning panel when the decision was made to refuse the scheme that the visual impact of the turbines would be “severe and ruinous to the local valley”.

“The turbines would be higher than the valley is deep; it’s an unblemished valley and we hope it will remain that way,” he said.

Moresby, Arlecdon and Frizington and Weddicar parish councils had all lodged protests with concerns about visual impact and the harmful effect of the turbines on tourism and wildlife.

The package of benefits Banks Renewables pledged included an apprentice scheme with Lakes College to create 600 positions and a minimum £30,000-a-year donation to a community fund for the 25-year lifespan of the windfarm. Cash would also go towards building a play area in Frizington.

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