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Four Healeyfield parish councillors resign in row over wind turbines  

Credit:  By Gavin Engelbrecht | The Northern Echo | 14th November 2013 | www.thenorthernecho.co.uk ~~

Four parish councillors have resigned following a row over controversial wind turbines.

Councillor David Dixon of Healeyfield Parish Council, covering Castleside and its surrounding area, near Consett, County Durham, was granted planning permission for a 74m wind turbine on his farm, in Rowley, last October.

But fellow members claimed they had not been given the opportunity to properly debate the issue, saying they were kept in dark.

They are also angry with Coun Dixon’s support for a further wind turbine on a neighbouring farmer’s land.

Parish council chairman Councillor Ray Thompson and two colleagues resigned together, following a fourth member who stood down earlier this month.

It means if one of the three remaining members does not attend a meeting there will be an insufficient number for it to be legitimate.

Mr Thompson said when a second application came in for a turbine on High Knitsley Farm, the council had decided to register an objection on behalf of residents.

But Coun Dixon had supported the plans as a parish councillor.

Mr Thompson said: “We complained to the Durham County Council solicitor that Coun Dixon had been in breach of code of conduct with regard to his application.

“And I submitted a complaint that he was in breach for completely ignoring the principle of collective responsibility.”

But the authority’s solicitor dismissed both complaints and cleared Coun Dixon of any wrongdoing.

Mr Thompson said: “We are resigning because we feel betrayed. Our complaint has not been properly dealt with.”

Coun Dixon has rejected their claims. He said: “There is a complaints procedure which has been exhausted.

“I have done everything I had to do. I have not done anything wrong. The council has exonerated me.

“From the moment we put in the application (for our turbine) we have gone along with all procedures to the letter.

“Yes there was a mix-up with the county council and the parish council did not find out as quickly as it ought to have, but that is nothing to do with myself.”

Source:  By Gavin Engelbrecht | The Northern Echo | 14th November 2013 | www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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