April 5, 2014

Campaigners lay down arms in fight against wind turbine plan

Suffolk Free Press | 05 April 2014 | www.suffolkfreepress.co.uk

Attempts to have permission for a 250ft wind turbine in Clare revoked – after similar plans were rejected nearby – have come to nothing.

Suffolk County councillor Julian Flood called for the approval of the 78-metre high turbine in Chilton Street to be reassessed earlier this year.

This followed the decision of St Edmundbury Borough Council’s development committee to reject proposals for another wind turbine in Haverhill.

Like the Clare turbine, which was granted planning consent a year ago, landowner James Sills was behind the scheme.

Mr Flood said the latest committee ruling left the Clare application in considerable doubt and he would write to the council to recommend the decision was recalled.

“The same objections apply in both cases, and it is my opinion that the same errors were made in both assessments,” he said.

“The benefits were overstated, the amenity damage was underestimated, loss of property value was not considered and the damage to wildlife study was sketchy.”

Mr Flood has now learnt, however, that there is no hope of challenging the controversial scheme.

“I have tried but I am afraid it is too late to get it called in and rejected,” he said.

“I have taken legal advice and I am afraid that, as far as current legislation goes, there is no simple way of stopping it.”

Iona Parker, a member of the Stop Turbines Over Clare (Stoc) action group, said she was still “appalled” that the Clare wind turbine had been passed but accepted nothing could be done.

“We have looked at all the options, the most obvious of which was a judicial review, but the costs involved make that difficult and there is no guarantee,” said Mrs Parker.

“It is frustrating as the grounds for refusal were much stronger in our case than in Haverhill.”

Mrs Parker added that she believed Mr Sills’ estimate, that the turbine would provide enough power for 319 homes, was way off the mark, and it would damage the landscape.

Earlier proposals from BT for three wind turbines in Clare were dropped after research found there was not enough wind to make them financially worthwhile.

“Some of the wind calculations were miles out and it was being claimed there would be more wind here than somewhere like the north of Scotland,” said Mrs Parker.

“Our only hope is that it is not viable as it is down to how much money it will make.

“There are no signs of construction at the moment.”

Mr Flood said communities forced to live with a wind farm should be given the power to tax them at punitive rates which, in turn, may deter potential developers.

“Wind farms lower house prices and home owners should be compensated,” he said.

“Why should wind farm developers profit from others’ misery? They should not, and I will try my damnedest to make sure they don’t.”

A handful of groups, including Clare Parish Council, English Heritage and Stour Valley Project, had opposed the plans.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2014/04/05/campaigners-lay-down-arms-in-fight-against-wind-turbine-plan/