Community Windpower working to ruin communities again…

Community Windpower Ltd. are holding another public exhibition to promote their third attempt to gain planning consent for a wind farm on Claughton and Whit Moor (12 turbines -v- 13 last time and 20 the first time).  This information was discreetly placed on their website:

“A Public Exhibition showing the revised proposal is being held on: Tuesday 18th September 2012, 2.00pm – 7.00pm, Victoria Institute, Caton

Everyone is welcome and Community Windpower will be available to answer questions”

They previously held exhibitions at Hornby and Claughton in June 2012 but for did not bother with Caton which will have most of the turbines in it’s parish.
These exhibitions and consultations are a statutory requirement – the developer wants as few people as possible to go for obvious reasons, hence they are very poorly advertised.
We need as many people to attend and voice objections as possible. If you can attend please make sure you register your comments in the book the developer has to make available for local feedback. This is an important part of the new planning process, the NPFF, and the Localism Bill.
Community Windpower why they are persistently ignoring the local democratic process; the two previous applications were objected to by local Parish Councils, unanimously refused by Lancaster City Council’s cross party elected Planning Committees, objected to by local County Councillors, our local MPs and by the vast majority of people who live in the area who commented.
There were nine points the two previous applications were refused on including the fact that the site is 6km inside an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is protected from developments such as wind farms.
The Caton Moor wind farm was only approved through a flawed process and should never have been permitted; however it will be removed in 18 years time. This mistake should not be used as an excuse to permit another wind farm in the area which will desecrate the moor for another 25 years.
They have also noted that there is no alternative site available for their wind farm!!!
We have helped defeat the two previous applications; please help us defeat this application as well.

One Response to Community Windpower working to ruin communities again…

  1. Tim Sarney says:

    Community Windpower Ltd – Claughton Moor Public Exhibition Tuesday 18th September 2012, 2.00pm – 7.00pm, Victoria Institute, Caton

    We attended this today in Caton. Key points:

    Two people were present from Community Windpower, neither were familiar with the history of the previous applications, they could not answer most questions and the “project manager” was from a different project and totally unfamiliar with Claughton Moor. Gillian Cropper, Claughton Project Manager, was not present. It was clear that Community Windpower did not view this exhibition as being an important part of the planning process and see this as a box ticking exercise only. We will complain at the appropriate time.

    The planning application was scheduled to be submitted in the summer of this year; we were told the target for submission is now December 2012.

    The application is now expected to be for 10 off 2MW 100m to blade tip turbines (20MW). This has been changed from the previous exhibitions for this application held in June at Hornby and Claughton (and the current information on their website) which was for 12 off 2.3 MW 110m turbines. We are not clear if the proposed turbines are now 100m or 110m to blade tip. They have decreased the number of turbines and height on the advice of the Council (this is what they told us). Our view is that they are attempting to ensure this application is ruled as materially different to the previous two to avoid it not being accepted by the Council under the relevant planning law provisions. They claim to have been working closely with Lancaster City Council Planning Department on the new application.

    Wire frames (not montages) were shown from Caton, Crook O’ Lune and Hornby Bridge. These were completely useless in demonstrating visual impact. Neither person present was aware of the importance of the visual impacts from the East and South East (High Salter). This was most evident when we asked why there was no wireframe from High Salter (they claimed that the Council and Natural England dictated the view points but clearly were not aware that High Salter has always been a key view point).

    Access appears to be the same route as the two previous applications, from the A683 near Farleton.

    They claim to have all air traffic control approvals in place for the scheme (NATS were objecting to the refused 13 turbine scheme).

    They are offering £20,000 per year community fund (£500,000 over 25 years).

    They are emphasising that there is no other suitable site for a 10 turbine wind farm in the Lancaster area – this is their main argument for looking outside the designated search areas and main justification for the Claughton site in the AONB (along with the existing Caton wind farm). Looking outside Lancaster District is not an option apparently (their response).

    They are aware of Lancaster’s updated planning fees for wind farms guidance. They accused FELLS (or a similar anti wind farm group) of assisting the Council in formulating this new fees guidance! We responded by stating that it would be great if FELLS could dictate policy to Lancaster City Council – but unfortunately we could not.

    We asked their views on the importance of local opinion in their approach to site selection, bearing in mind the fact that most members of the public, MPs, County Councillors, Parish Councils, the City Council Planning Committee clearly do not want to see another wind farm in the AONB. They agreed that this was the situation previously (and most likely will be for the new application) but Community Windpower believe this is the perfect (and only) site for their new wind farm (first in England for them). Of course they are applying in North Cornwall at Davidstow again in parallel.

    Attendance was poor (they said), at the time we left (shortly before they closed) all comments in the visitors book were very negative and everyone had strongly objected to their proposal.

    A new battle begins!

    Best regards,

    Tim Sarney

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