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Scotland Corner wind farm project withdrawn

The company behind the proposed Scotland Corner wind farm has withdrawn its planning application. The project will not now go ahead in the foreseeable future.

Berkshire-based Coriolis Energy had wanted to build five 100-metre-tall turbines on a 50-acre site at Rosenannon Downs, close to a number of Ancient Monuments off the A39 near Winnard’s Perch. The application followed an almost identical bid for five 110-metre tall turbines, which Cornwall’s planners rejected by 10 votes to 9 in April.

This week James Hopkins of Coriolis confirmed that the wind farm would not be built “at this time. I can’t rule it out forever, but we want to take people with us on this and until there is more local support I can’t see us trying again any time soon.”

Historic England, which has responsibility for looking after the Ancient Monuments, had backed the wind farm because the investment offered to improve access to and interpretation of the Nine Maidens standing stones. The area is rich in megaliths but over the centuries they have been neglected and damaged.

Coriolis had also offered to share the financial benefits of the project, but attempts to find an ownership model which would ensure profits stayed in Cornwall failed to convince the local community.

A collaboration with the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) to explore ways of benefitting local communities stalled when local parish councils said they had no interest in joining the project. Indeed, local councils had been vociferous in their opposition to the scheme, claiming it would ruin the landscape.

In a letter to Cornwall Council, Coriolis said: “Coriolis Energy remains fully confident that this is a well sited and designed wind development which would yield substantive benefits and merits the grant of planning permission. However, in the light of WREN’s decision not to engage with this project further, Coriolis has decided that it cannot continue with development of the project at the present time. Coriolis therefore requests to withdraw the planning application with immediate effect.”

In its New Year message to its members, WREN said: “This project was worth considering as the output would have been more or less the same as the domestic consumption of the entire Wadebridge, Padstow and St Columb areas, so that we could have been able to control our own cheaper, and inflation-proof, electricity supply over the 20 year life of the facility.

“All profits would have been for local use, so, in addition to supporting local good causes, we could potentially have helped fill the funding gap for valued local services like libraries and public toilets where local budgets are likely to be increasingly stretched over coming years.

“This arrangement was designed to give local councils unprecedented influence not only on the planning decision, but also upon the subsequent decision on whether the achievable benefits were sufficient for building the project.

“However the councils themselves did not wish to engage further, so the project cannot be developed in a collaborative way.

“WREN will therefore step back and not engage with this project any further, as opportunities like this, however strong may be their merits, only have value where there is also strong local support.”

A few weeks ago Cornwall Council’s landscape officer said the revised turbine height would make little difference to the visual impact of the proposed windfarm. Town councils at Wadebridge and St Columb, and local parish councils, maintained their objection to the project claiming it would be “a blot on the landscape.”