Battle continues over misplaced Gullen Range wind turbines as NSW planning department recommends their relocation
The New South Wales’ Planning and Environment Department wants two wind turbines at the Gullen Range wind farm moved, after finding the company erected them away from their approved locations.
Investigators from the department found one third of the project’s 73 turbines were built more than 50 metres from where they were meant to be.
A spokesman for the department says two turbines built 178 and 167 metres from their approved locations are unacceptable because of their impact on nearby landholders.
But John Titchen, the managing director of Goldwind, the company behind the project, says they should be allowed to remain, arguing the discrepancies are minor in the overall scale of the project.
“Gullen Range wind farms is not convinced that the department’s recommendation is warranted.”
Audio: Department recommends moving misplaced turbines (ABC Rural)
When the turbines’ misplacement first came to light, Goldwind asked the department to retrospectively vary its planning permit so they could remain in place.
John Titchen says that remains the company’s position.
“Our experts have advised that the project is consistent with the planning requirements.”
The turbines’ fate now lies with an independent planning and assessment commission.
Nearby landholder Humphrey Price Jones say their misplacement has affected his quality of life and property value.
“The visual impact is horrendous, this development has in part destroyed the very reason we live where we live.”
“It’s turned a rural area, a primary producing area into a vast industrial site.”
Humphrey Price Jones argues the company should not be allowed to vary its planning permit.
“It sets a dangerous precedent for other developers who now know that generally speaking they can build these things wherever they wish and simply lodge a modification application.”
The Upper Lachlan Shire Council had asked the Department of Planning of Environment for a judicial enquiry into the project’s approval.
Mayor John Shaw admits the planning and assessment commission (PAC) process now underway, falls short of expectations.
“We just hope that the PAC do the right thing by the people that have put in their submissions and listen to the objectors.”
“Obviously it’s not going to waylay all [concerns] people will obviously most of them removed or moved.”
The PAC could take anywhere from three to eight weeks to rule on the application.
The number of objectors involved mean the decision-making process must include a public hearing.
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