East Lindsey District Council is asking the government for assurance that ‘no does mean no’ for wind farm developments and requesting a review of the Gayton le Marsh wind farm decision.
Following yesterday’s announcement that local people will have greater powers to block wind farm developments, the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development at East Lindsey District Council has today written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to express his hope that ‘the new planning guidance for wind farm developments will end the public perception that Localism is nothing more than a sham that only gives the illusion of local power in decision making.’
In a letter addressed to Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Coun Craig Leyland says that if the new DCLG guidance to Local Planning Authorities and the Planning Inspectorate is to mean anything, then residents need to be assured that No does mean No and that local decision wont be overturned by the Planning Inspectorate if the Council has a valid and clear reason for refusing a wind farm development and there is significant local opposition.
The latest application in East Lindsey to be granted government planning approval is that by EnergieKontor UK for eight wind turbines at Gayton le Marsh.
Despite ‘significant opposition and ELDC refusing the planning application based on impact the development would have on the landscape, including the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, the Government’s Planning Inspectorate overruled the council’s decision at appeal, giving approval for the development.
The council received 830 objections to the plans from local people.
Following the new guidance, the council has requested the Government consider a review of the Gayton le Marsh decision. The council has also asked whether the Planning Inspectorate was aware of the changes and whether it would have been appropriate for Planning Inspectors to defer decision that were to be made so close to the announcement of these changes.
In his letter to Eric Pickles MP, Coun Leyland, said: “East Lindsey currently has four wind farms consented and operational, with a further six in the planning process. Of these, four have been refused by our Planning Committee, including one that is awaiting an appeal decision (Orby;- which, as Secretary of State, you have decided to determine yourself) and one that has recently been allowed at appeal, namely Gayton le Marsh.
“The other two will potentially go to appeal. The two remaining are suspended pending more information. In addition a further six have gone through scoping.
“In the last three years this Authority has spent nearly half a million pounds fighting appeals. We also know that communities affected by windfarm applications have felt compelled to form action groups to defend the landscapes they value.
“This is done at considerable cost to these communities and they are dismayed when they see an application refused by our Planning Committee only to find that the applicant can potentially overturn that decision at appeal.
“If the new DCLG guidance to LPA’s and the Planning Inspectorate is to mean anything then residents need to be assured that No does mean No.
“In conclusion, I can only hope that the new DCLG guidance will end the public perception that Localism is nothing more than a sham that only gives the illusion of local power in decision making.
“The proposed changes will be severely tested and if they prove to be nothing more than a political palliative, I am fearful for the future of the Localism agenda and its proposers.”
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