People power has triumphed for hundreds of objectors against a windfarm development, as the company behind the scheme pulled its appeal at the eleventh hour.
Plans for the £17 million Weddicar Rigg windfarm, near Whitehaven, were revealed three years ago.
Since then a fierce battle has raged between protesters and the developers, Banks Renewables.
Six hundred people lodged objections against the scheme, earmarked for land between Moresby Parks and Frizington, and it looked as though they had won as Copeland councillors threw the plans out on the grounds of negative visual impact.
The company lodged an appeal but after a six-day inquiry, the Secretary of State upheld Copeland’s decision.
Banks Renewables carried on its fight saying it would take the case to the High Court in London to appeal the grounds of the process, and a date was set for a hearing this month.
The Durham-based company has now made a U-turn and has withdrawn its challenge with “immediate effect”.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, said he still believed there was a “strong case” to put before the High Court, but that in the present political climate was “unlikely” to get a satisfactory outcome for the project as a whole.
The news has been welcomed by those who resisted the development.
Moresby councillor Geoff Blackwell, said he was pleased that Banks have “at last accepted” that the earmarked land was not the “right location”.
“I would like to thank all those people who had taken the time to respond in writing to the planning department and turn up at the planning panel and planning inquiry to put their views forward,” added Mr Blackwell.
“I feel that the right decision has at last been accepted.”
David Colborn, chair of Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment, said: “The voice of local people has for too long been ignored by the developers of both windfarms and single turbines.
“They have a history of riding roughshod over local opinion and have attempted to justify their schemes with the promise of ‘community funds’.
“The reality is that no amount of money can compensate for the misery that is caused to people living near turbines, let alone the devaluation of their properties.”
Mr Dyke said that Banks Renewables would look at ways in the future to bring the “very well-designed” and “sensibly-located” scheme forward again.
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