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Objectors fail to stop wind turbine getting go-ahead

A controversial wind turbine has been given the go-ahead in a narrow vote.

Copeland councillors have approved plans for a 24.8m-high turbine at Low Thorney Farm, at Carleton, near Egremont, despite strong community objections.

The crucial vote was deadlocked at four in favour and four against. Geoff Blackwell – the chair of the planning panel – has the deciding vote and voted in favour.

Councillors were told in a statement provided by the applicant, Phil Sherwin, that the turbine is “a significant distance from residential properties to ensure there are no issues associated with noise, shadow flicker or safety”.

The statement adds: “Although it will be visible from public highways and vantage points, this does not render the scheme harmful.”

The application attracted 15 letters of objection locally, plus one from Haile and Wilton Parish Council, raising a number of concerns. They include visual impact, noise, flicker and the effect they feel it would have on tourism and house prices.

John Jackson, representing the Beckermet ward, told his fellow councillors that they should not ignore the community’s objections.

He said: “Fifteen letters of objections represents almost the entire village; we can’t ignore all these people for the benefit of one [the applicant].We are in a democracy and surely we have to abide by that.

“It is too close to other people’s houses and will be an imposition on the people who live there.

“It is not the biggest turbine but it’s on a heightened site and will be visible for miles around. The only people who won’t see it is the applicant – as their house faces the other way.”

Copeland’s planning officers, in recommending approval to councillors, said: “The siting of the turbine in this location is, on balance, considered to represent an acceptable form of wind energy development.”

This new application is less than a mile away from a previously unsuccessful turbine application, from Robert Sherwin at High Thorney Farm. The previous application for a 79.6m-high turbine – more than three times higher than the newly-approved proposal – was turned down initially by Copeland Council in 2011, and again on appeal in 2012.

A decision on a second turbine – 67m-high and planned for Howgate, near Whitehaven – will be taken by the Planning Inspectorate.

The applicant – Empirica Investments Limited – appealed directly to the government ahead of a decision being taken by Copeland Council.

Copeland councillors voted that they are “minded to refuse” the application, and this view will be forwarded to the Inspectorate.
by Andrew Clarke |