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‘Alien’ mast near M6 must go  

Credit:  Thursday 2 October 2014 by Ellis Butcher thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk ~~

A 262ft tall mast in open countryside must come down and councillors are demanding enforcement action.

The mast – more than half the height of Blackpool Tower – has stood in open country at Killington since August 2012 since being placed there by Durham-based Banks Renewables.

It has been gathering wind speeds ahead of three wind turbines being installed – a plan passed by South Lakeland District Council – but then withdrawn in June by Banks ahead of a public inquiry.

The company applied to SLDC to keep the mast in place until February 2016 – which had the backing of council planning officers.

The company wanted it to remain in place as it was ‘still considering options for future alternative schemes that might be suitable at this site’.

But South Lakeland District Council’s Planning Committee wase told it should have been taken down in February.

Resident Tanya Hoare, who lives at nearby Lowgill, and was one of 49 objectors, said the mast was ‘ugly, alien and threatening’.

“It’s been up for over two years – it’s slim but at 80 metres it’s very prominent and the red light can seen for miles around.”

She described it as giving a ‘looming threat’ of a wind farm.

Peter Winter, of PFK planning based in Kendal and Penrith, said the mast had caused ‘considerable tension’ in nearby communities.

He spoke against the application on behalf of campaign groups including FELLS, the Friends of the Lake District and Stop Turbines at Killington (STAK).

Mr Winter said: “The real reasons for this application are either financial – they don’t want to spend the money to take it down – or they are stalling until some form of possible future change in Government.”

Planning committee member Coun John Holmes (Con) said: “We allowed this for 18 months and they’ve got two years – I question the arrogance of Banks with this. I’m of the opinion they have had sufficient time to collate the information they want.”

Coun Kevin Lancaster (Con) said the council should take enforcement action because the mast was not taken down when permission expired. “It’s an intrusive structure in the environment and an inappropriate, unauthorised development,” said Coun Lancaster.

Labour’s Bharath Rajan said: “We have not suffered because of it and if data needs to be gathered I don’t see the harm.”

And Coun Brenda Gray (Lib Dems) said: “They are not being bloody-minded, they are just doing their job.”

Councillors agreed seven to five that permission for the mast be refused and that enforcement action be taken.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, said afterwards: “Having had SLDC’s officers support for our plan to leave the Killington test mast in place, we’re very disappointed that the members of the council’s planning committee haven’t reiterated their previous support for the wind farm as a whole by agreeing with their officers’ recommendation.

“We will examine the precise reasons for this decision before deciding upon the most suitable next course of action.”

Source:  Thursday 2 October 2014 by Ellis Butcher thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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