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Factory’s bid for two wind turbines thrown out by council

A Workington factory has been told it cannot put up two wind turbines.

Iggesund Paperboard wanted to erect the turbines, up to 360ft high, at its Siddick plant.

One would have been next to part of the factory, with the other in its willow plantation.

After local opposition, Allerdale council’s development panel threw out the plans.

Councillors agreed with the view of planning officers that community concerns about the plan had not been satisfactorily addressed, the turbines would have a significant visual impact on the residents of Buildings Farm Close in Seaton and there was not enough evidence to show that they would not cause unacceptable noise disturbance.

The plans attracted 144 letters of objection from people concerned about the cumulative impact of turbines in the area, their noise and visual impact and possible effects on wildlife.

Cumbria County Council, Workington council, Seaton Parish Council, Friends of Siddick Ponds, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Butterfly Trust also objected.

Councillor Celia Tibble addressed the panel on behalf of the parish council, and residents of Siddick and Northside. She said she had been told by the firm that the turbines were planned for shareholder profit rather than to support jobs at the factory.

She said: “Everyone in Seaton is against this, even some of the people who are employed at the factory.

“I don’t want to see the factory closed but I also don’t want to see the factory becoming just a power plant.”

Allerdale received six letters of support for the plan.

Daniel Sowerby, of Iggesund Paperboard, said the paperboard market had changed since the plans were first discussed and the firm now needed to diversify to keep jobs.

He said: “We have 400 members of staff and 1,500 subcontractors.

“We need to be looking for diversification.

“The last thing we want is another Eastman on our doorsteps because that outlook is a lot worse than turbines.”

Councillor Adrian Davis-Johnston said the firm had made significant profit over the last five years.

He moved refusal of the plans, seconded by Coun Margaret Jackson.

The panel voted unanimously to refuse planning permission.

Recent government guidance said developers must demonstrate community backing for onshore wind turbines.

Planning officers said the large number of objections, and the fact the planning issues raised in them had not been addressed, showed that the plan did not have community support.

Iggesund originally sought permission for three turbines. The third, to be sited north of Siddick Ponds, was later withdrawn from the scheme.