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Planning officers urge rejection of wind turbine near Workington

Planning officers at Allerdale council have recommended refusing a wind turbine application because of a number of fundamental issues.

David Gate, of Branthwaite Hall, put in an application to build a 79.6m turbine at Winscales because he was anxious to develop a sustainable renewableenergy project to reduce the financial overheads on his farm.

He also argued that the turbine’s energy would be used by both the farm and exported and it would also contribute to the Government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

However, officers have recommended that the application is refused at next week’s meeting on Tuesday, December 1, because of a number of fundamental issues including its visual impact on the landscape, local residents’ concerns and issues with air safety.

Officers also say the application should be refused because the proposed turbine would increase the large number of turbines in the area.

There are already 18 other wind turbines close to the proposed site – seven at Winscales Moor Wind Farm next to the proposed one and 11 at East Town End Farm, which is 1.2km away.

Mr Gate’s application gathered seven letters of objection from local residents and the parish councils of Little Clifton, Great Clifton and Winscales. These letters raised concerns about greater noise nuisance, light flicker issues and the cumulative impact the turbines would have on the landscape.

A letter from Little Clifton parish council stated: “This council feels that the area has already reached, if not exceeded, saturation point for turbines and would not wish to see any additional structures of this nature in the vicinity.”

Another letter of objection from a nearby resident stated: “Yet another despicable desecration of our countryside which only exist due to massive financial support by misguided and misinformed politicians using the taxpayers’ money.

“Our area is now fast becoming one enormous windfarm totally polluted by these visual monstrosities.”

Planning officers also noted that a written ministerial statement published in June gave great weightto residents’ concernswhen considering wind turbine applications and that even though Mr Gate’s application was submitted before that time the concerns had not been alleviated.

Planning officers were also concerned that the size and scale of the proposed turbine would be overbearing for some of the houses closest to it.

Allerdale Local Plan recommends that turbines are a minimum of 800m away from houses but seven houses and properties at Clifton Hall Close were closer to the proposed turbine than that marker. The final reason for recommending refusal was that NATS said the location of the proposed turbine would have an unacceptable adverse effect on the operation of air navigation radar.

The application for the turbine was first placed in August 2014 but the time has been extended on it because of the objections raised by NATS and subsequent negotiations.

The agent for the planning application said that the difficulties had been resolved with NATS subject to mitigation measures being put in place and the payment of a non-refundable deposit, NATS never confirmed this with Allerdale’s planning authority.

The planning application will be considered by Allerdale councillors on Tuesday.