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Is end in sight for Delph wind farm war?

Protestors battling to stop the installation of nine wind turbines in West Pinchbeck say they have renewed hope following proposals for other parts of the country being blown away by Government guidelines to give the public a greater say.

Proposals for wind farms in Croft Bank and Nocton Fen have been withdrawn – leaving Lincolnshire County Council delighted the conflict between developers and residents has come to an end.

In spite of Wind Ventures’ plan for a 126m tip-height turbines on a site at Fen Farm in South Fen – also known as The Delph – going ahead for the time being, Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm protestors are not downhearted.

Tony Fear, of the group, said: “Yes we are encouraged by the two planning applications being withdrawn and expect Wind Venture (WV) will follow suit with The Delph.

“That is not currently their position, however. We recently visited the council offices to get an update on the planning application and found South Holland District Council had written to Wind Ventures following the new planning guidelines asking if they still wanted to continue, given that they don’t have the support of the local community.

“They declined to withdraw them. However, their claim that they have public backing is pure dissimulation whilst they continue to ignore the submissions of the ecology expert employed by the local community, Dr Tim Reed.

“Nevertheless we are very optimistic of a favourable outcome, it is just a shame we will have to wait a little longer. Hopefully the other wind farm planning applications being withdrawn will persuade Wind Ventures to revisit their decision.”

Ross Glover at Wind Ventures was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

However, Wind Ventures’ response to the district council of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government statement says it “constitutes, in our opinion, guidance”.

The response states: “The Secretary of State says that it must be demonstrated that the planning impacts ‘identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing’.

“We have addressed the concerns through our ES, various public exhibitions, supplementary surveys and reports and by indicating that we would be content for some of the turbines not to receive planning consent, while others are consented.”

Coun Colin Davie, county council executive member for economic development and strategic planning, is delighted for the residents who fought against the Croft Bank application and hopes the withdrawal of two proposed wind farms will signal the end of conflict between developers and residents.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted for residents who opposed this application that it has now been withdrawn by the applicant. It is further confirmation and vindication that the county council view to oppose further onshore wind developments in recent years is now supported by Government policy.

“With the withdrawal of Nocton Fen last week and now this application at Croft, I hope this signifies the end of conflict between developers and residents.”