The expansion of the Scout Moor wind farm could yet be stalled after the planning approval was ‘called in’ for review by the Government.
Proposals to extend the number of wind turbines at the site from 26 to 42 were approved by Rossendale council’s planning committee in September, despite a strong opposition campaign led by residents and MPs.
But it has now been confirmed that the expansion application has been ‘called in’ by Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The application, made by Scout Moor Ltd, a joint venture between Peel Energy and United Utilities, will now go before a planning inquiry where a planning inspector will make a recommendation which the Secretary of State will consider before making a final decision.
Tom Whitehead, a town planner working on behalf of the community groups opposed to the Scout Moor expansion, said: “We have received notification of the Secretary of State’s decision to call-in the applications, and are considering our next steps. The call-in effectively overrules the decision of Rossendale council, and on the face of it would appear to corroborate our criticisms of the way Rossendale’s planning committee dealt with the application.
“Credit must go to our MPs Jake Berry and David Nuttall for ensuring the community sentiment was heard by the Secretary of State.”
If the Secretary of State overturns the approval of the application, Rossendale council could be set to lose out on £600,000 per year in business rates income, a loss described as ‘catastrophic’ in a financial monitoring report earlier this year.
A spokesperson for Rossendale council said: “The application relating to the Scout Moor Windfarm expansion has now been ‘called-in’ by the Secretary of State. ‘Called-In’ means the application is dealt via a public inquiry before a Planning Inspector who will make a recommendation which the Secretary of State will then consider before making a final decision.”
A DCLG spokesperson said: “We have carefully considered the proposed expansion of Scout Moor Wind Farm against the government’s call in policy and decided that the planning applications should be decided by central government.”
Jonathan England, from Peel Energy, said: “We are very disappointed with the decision by the Secretary of State to call in the applications and are now considering this in further detail.”
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