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Protesters line up at windfarm meeting

Energy company RWE Innogy has revealed it hopes to put in a planning application to Wyre Borough Council this autumn for a major new development at St Michaels.

The company outlined its latest proposals and details of its ongoing survey work at a public information event at the weekend.

Display boards were put on show in St Michaels’ Village Hall and experts were on hand to answer queries from some 250 local residents about the Cuckoo Wood development, planned for a site 1.5km north west of the village.

The company said it also wanted to get feedback on how a community benefits fund could be used and share information about opportunities for local businesses.

Site developer Alice Byrne said the designs of the proposed farm had evolved since RWE’s last public event in September.

She said: “We have reduced the number of turbines from seven to five and consolidated them into a cluster in order to increase the distances between the proposed turbines and homes. This is as a result of the initial feedback we received from local residents and the findings from the extensive studies we are undertaking at the site.”

She continued:“The design of the proposed wind farm has not yet been finalised and so the feedback we’ve received, together with the findings of our ongoing studies, will help us to produce a final design for the wind farm”.

Many local residents made clear their opposition to the proposals, lining up both outside and inside the hall.

Some stressed they feared a precedent was being created, with Wyre set to be come a massive wind farm,

Also protesting was County Coun Vivien Taylor who declared: “I came along to demonstrate my support to these good people. I feel that there are too many problems with wind farms – the noise issues and the flicker.”

She said she feared the local mossland terrain would provide unsuitable foundations for any development.

Resident Jan Hallam said: “My main concern is we are a little rural village with a good community, this village doesn’t need anything really! This will benefit the landowners and the power companies and the rest of us are losers.”

Businesswoman Caroline Hanson said: “It’s going to stop people coming into the area they are such an eyesore. We have an early mediaeval church memtioned in the Domesday Book and they are going to put this monstrous wind farm just over a kilometre away.”

Meanwhile Judith Hunter said: “Tourists come to our beautiful countryside – they are not going to come to visit windfarms.”

For Hilda Thompson there were concerns about flooding and the proximity of a children’s playground to turbines. Protesters’ spokesman Rob Bonner said: “There was no mistaking our message.”

Earlier in the week some 100 people attended a public meeting where concerns, including noise, loss of visual amenity, loss of property values, environmental impact, risk to wildlife and the impact on local businesses reliant on tourism were discussed.

See www.rweinnogy.com/cuckoowood for information about the event and submitting comments.