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Councils clash over windfarm proposals

Plans for a replacement windfarm between Barrow and Ulverston are set to be decided by government planning officials.

Yesterday, Barrow Borough Council chose to unanimously accept plans to revamp the Furness Wind Farm.

Members of the planning committee chose to accept the proposals for five existing turbines at Harlock Hill, near Marton, to be replaced with five new 99.5m turbines.

However, the site is split between the boundaries of Barrow Borough Council and South Lakeland District Council, and in March, SLDC rejected the plans.

The development needs the support of both councils to proceed, and applicants Baywind and Infinergy have since confirmed they will appeal against SLDC’s decision to national body the Planning Inspectorate.

During the meeting, objector Stephen Benson of Horace Farm highlighted the impact on residents of the existing turbines.

He said: “For the last 15 years we have lived with noise, shadow and flicker, never mind the visual impact.”

John McMinn said he had lived in the area for 20 years and said there was continuous noise from the windfarm.

Anti-wind campaigner Tim Sarney highlighted the council’s use of planning consultants White Green Young Plc, a company he said has been commissioned to prepare a planning application for the HMP Haverigg Windfarm Scheme.

He said: “How can a company with extensive interests in the windfarm industry be considered ‘impartial’, without ‘conflict of interest’ and be contracted to assess a windfarm planning application?”

Infinergy’s senior project manager Matt Russell said the proposal represented the most “sensible size and scale” for re-powering the Furness Windfarm. Baywind director Annette Heslop said the Barrow-based company had been started as a cooperative 16 years ago, and said she had not received complaints about the noise, apart from when a turbine had broken. She added the new turbines would be quieter than those presently at the site.

Planning officer Charles Wilton said although the council only had jurisdiction over three of the turbines, the application was to be dealt with on the basis that all five would be built.

He asserted that WYG had acted as independent planning consultants.

He said: “They are an independent firm who have provided work for the public and private sector, and have worked with the council in the past.”

Members of the committee discussed the plans, with Councillor Gordon Murray raising concerns about noise.

However, they voted unanimously to grant planning permission.