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Proposed Orby Marsh wind farm is ‘creeping turbinisation’

Arguments for and against proposals to build a wind farm at Orby Marsh have been heard at a second public inquiry.

Applicant Mark Caudwell is appealing against ELDC’s decision to refuse a planning application for nine turbines on land off Marsh Lane.

The eight-day inquiry is being re-held following the sudden death of planning inspector Trevor Cookson, who passed away before delivering his decision following the original inquiry in October 2012.

Opening statements were presented at Tedder Hall, Manby on February 11, by representatives from the appellant, Orby Windfarm Action Group (OWAG) and both district and county councils.

Geraldine Smedley spoke on behalf of OWAG, a group of local residents who have been campaigning against the proposals since an initial planning application for 20 turbines was refused in 2003.

Mrs Smedley said the cumulative impact of ‘creeping turbinisation’ in the area was already compromising many residents’ quality of life.

She added: “Since this application was originally submitted, the only thing that has altered is the prolific development of wind farms both on and off shore.

“If there is severe visual impact on a residence, protecting the amenity of the resident is a legitimate planning consideration.

“The site in question directly affects at least four parishes.

“Local experience also indicates that sites start small and then expand. This is of great concern to the majority of local people.”

Representing ELDC, Richard Wold said the application ‘sits in conflict’ with planning guidelines laid out in the recently updated Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management Plan.

He added: “If anything, the reason for refusal has strengthened in the time that has elapsed since this appeal was last considered.

“The AONB Management plan states hat the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB is especially vulnerable to cumulative impacts from medium to large scale developments.”

“It is of course right that views in and out of AONB were a relevant consideration even in the past, but certain policy changes and guidance that now exist emphasise that key feature.”

Lincolnshire County Council supports ELDC’s decision to oppose the application and planned to set out its case of harmful effects to the county’s landscape, and tourism industry, should the plans be granted.

Hashi Mohamed, representing LCC, said: “Whilst the expert local planning knowledge of the district council will be invaluable, it is hoped that the county council’s involvement will provide the inquiry with an even wider view of how this proposed development would detrimentally impact not just the district of East Lindsey but the county as a whole.”

Marcus Trinick QC, represented the appellant at the inquiry, and argues ELDC’s case for refusal is based solely on the cumulative landscape and visual effects. Addressing the planning inspector George Baird he added: “In 2004, 20 wind turbines were proposed with a blade tip height of 101m. In this appeal nine turbines are proposed, with a maximum blade top height of 81m, a substantial 20 meters less.

“The proposed development is of the right scale and in the right location.”