Campaigners opposed to a wind farm near Kimbolton, Tilbrook and Stow Longa have welcomed the fact that MP Eric Pickles will have the final say on the application.
Broadview Energy wants to put three 125m turbines near Bicton Industrial Estate, and its proposals will be the subject of a public inquiry at Jubilee Park, King’s Ripton Road, Huntingdon, on Tuesday, June 17.
Following the hearing, which is expected to last eight days, rather than the planning inspector making a decision, they will write a report with a recommendation for Mr Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Last June, Mr Pickles said local people should have more of a say on where onshore wind farms were sited.
The campaign against the turbines has been led by the Stop Bicton Wind Farm group. Its chairman Richard Murphy said: “This will be a test case of Mr Pickles’s credibility.
“If his words are to carry any weight, the Bicton Wind Farm proposals will be thrown out once and for all.”
District councillor Jonathan Gray said he was delighted the decision would be made by the Secretary of State. “One of Eric Pickles’s clearly stated views on wind farm developments is that the views of local people matter and that they should be much more actively consulted by developers,” he said.
Broadview’s plans were rejected by Huntingdonshire District Council in September because they would have a harmful impact on the area.
Tom Cosgrove, the Broadview Energy project manager, said he was disappointed the Secretary of State had chosen to intervene. He said: “The scheduled public inquiry will be heard by a qualified government inspector, who will hear all of the evidence both for and against the project in a public forum.
“We are disappointed the planning inspector, who will hear all of the evidence, will no longer be empowered to make the planning decision.
“Recovering the appeal creates an extra layer in the decision-making process which will delay the timing of the ultimate decision, as well as impose extra costs and work for all interested parties.”