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Vote deferred on plans to extend life of South Cumbrian wind farm

Plans to extend the life of a ‘noisy’ South Cumbrian wind farm by another decade have been temporarily blocked.

An application for the continued operation of the Askam and Ireleth wind farm was deferred after Barrow Borough Council planners decided they wanted more independent evidence about the noise it makes.

The turbines have been branded the ‘worst in the country’ for complaints.

Marton resident Gillian Haythornthwaite told councillors it accounted for 152 of 206 complaints about turbines.

She blamed the site topography, changes in wind direction and its proximity to nearby homes.

Ms Haythornthwaite said it caused an “unbearable, horrendous, noise nuisance” and said a noise reduction service installed by the operators had cut complaints but not stopped the din.

Ireleth resident Les Nicholls told the planning committee: “It’s created a noise nuisance which has continued for 20 years. Despite this, no action has ever been taken by the council against the developer to my knowledge.

“When repeatedly questioned why the response has always been that the developer has got deep pockets and the council is skint.”

Mr Nicholls branded the wind farm “unproductive, uneconomical and loss-making.”

Mike Tracey, managing director of the applicants Cannock Wind Energy Limited said they took over five years ago yet at no point had the wind farm been found to cause a statutory noise nuisance during its lifetime.

Nor did Barrow council’s public protection officer object to the plan, he added.

Claims about its efficiency were “erroneous,” said Mr Tracey, adding that it had delivered profits in-line with projections and still served a useful purpose.

He said the company took complaints seriously and had invested in noise management systems.

Cllr Mark Burley said: “You’ve had all this time to sort out the noise issues.

“Why do you think you can sort it out now and obviously people aren’t happy?”

And Cllr Bev Morgan added that: “Twenty years of noise complaints is long enough.”