Hendy Wind Farm: Powys County Council is investigating claims of planning breaches at the site near Llandrindod Wells
“Technical breaches” of planning conditions are allegedly taking place at the Hendy Wind Farm development at Llandegley, near Llandrindod Wells, but nothing is being done about it yet.
Powys County Council (PCC) has admitted it is aware of the claims as it said that a “live investigation is open” on the development.
Protesters have been picketing the site this week as the final “concrete pour” has been taking place to build the base for a 110m wind turbine.
They claim that the developer is riding roughshod over planning law as they try to build a turbine in time to qualify for subsidies.
Developer, Njord Energy is supposed to only be allowed to work on “steel fixing works.”
Councillor Rosemarie Harris, Leader of Powys County Council, said: “Officers are carrying out regular site visits and have found evidence that some of the works undertaken, technically amounted to a breach of planning conditions.
“However, they appear to be consistent with the permission granted by the Minister and information submitted by the developers, although that is still subject to review by the council and other statutory consultees.
“We are aware of concerns but a planning authority cannot take enforcement action unless it is expedient in planning terms to do so.”
And the developer has hit back at protesters.
A spokesperson for Hendy Windfarm said: “We absolutely reject any suggestion that we have acted unlawfully.
“There are a small number of people who are seeking to prevent us from going ahead and are misrepresenting the situation for their own ends.
“The application for planning permission for this wind farm was submitted as long ago as July 2014.
“Unfortunately the local authority planning committee went against their officers’ recommendation of approval.
“This meant that a public inquiry had to be held, which whilst the outcome was positive caused lengthy delays.
“Full and detailed planning permission was granted by the Welsh Government after this exhaustive process on October 25, 2018.
“Since when we have been working closely with community groups, the local authority and other responsible bodies to implement the permission.”
But protesters have received support from other parts of Powys.
A delegation from Montgomeryshire Against Pylons (MAP) has been to the site donating a cheque for £1,000 to the Brecon and Radnor branch of CPRW (Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales), which is taking legal action to try and halt the development.
MAP fears that the decision to grant planning permission at Llandegley could affect its campaign.
Jonathan Wilkinson, chairman of MAP (and a Conservative County Councillor for Meifod) said: “As Llandegley Common goes, so goes Powys, Mid-Wales and indeed every area of natural beauty in Wales.
“We in MAP are fighting this because it will set a precedent and could be repeated anywhere in Powys or indeed Wales, destroying one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world at the developer’s whim.”
Just before Christmas, Brecon and Radnor CPRW had an application to stop work at the site until a judicial review into the decision is heard, thrown out of court.
Brecon and Radnor CPRW fears it could win a judicial review – but the turbines could already be built by then.
In October 2018, Lesley Griffiths AM, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, overturned previous decisions by PCC’s planning committee and planning inspectors to reject the wind farm.
She considered the benefits of delivering renewable energy should outweigh the impacts of the scheme on landscape and visual amenity.
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