Householders in the Calthwaite and Ivegill areas were stunned last week by a Cornish company’s plans to site an industrial windfarm on fields behind their homes. The proposal drawn up by REG Windpower shows six giant turbines, each over 400′ high, within 650 metres of residential properties.
Local resident Hilary Norman whose home is one of the closest to the site was horrified to hear of the plans. She said “This wind farm would completely overshadow us. Each turbine would tower 500 feet above our house – that’s like looking up to the top of Blackpool Tower. This is an area where we want people to visit and stay, to come cycling and touring, not to be put off by this industrial development.”
Jill Hunt, who lives next to Hay Close Farm where the turbines are planned said “If you drive for 100 miles down the M6, from north of Carlisle to south of Preston, you won’t see a bigger windfarm. People think that the turbines at Lambrigg, near Killington Services, are a blight on the landscape – but the ones planned for here are over 150 feet higher, and there are more of them.”
Jill’s neighbour Derek Hurton said “They must have been planning this for a year or so, but no one has had the decency to find out what we think about it. What’s happened makes a mockery of the company’s claim that they want to build strong relationships with local communities.”
Commenting on the way the news broke, Mr Hurton went on “The way this has been handled has been a shambles. The first we knew about the plans was getting home from work to find a letter saying they were coming the next day to install noise monitoring equipment in our garden. Then they said they couldn’t come that day but would come a week later. They got our names and our neighbours names wrong on the letters. The plan on their website showed our garden as part of their development site. If this is the extent of their professionalism, what confidence can I have about anything else they tell me about the scheme?”
Given the scale of the plans, local opposition is expected to be strong. As well as concerns about noise and flicker from the turbines disturbing the closest residents, there are fears that horses and livestock on nearby farms will be unsettled. People living several miles away from the site are likely to see their views of the Lake District obliterated. The latest plans form another link in a chain of schemes that have been proposed on each side of the M6 from Penrith to Carlisle, including sites at Forest Hill, Skelton, Southwaite and Ainstable.
The closest residents have already met to draw up plans to oppose the development. Local businessman Ges Ratcliffe, whose property would be just a few hundred metres away from the nearest turbine, summed up his neighbours’ views, saying “No one I’ve spoken to has a good word to say about the scheme. One of these companies described the residents of areas like ours as NGA – naieve, gullible and apathetic. I think they’ll find people here have an appetite for the fight.”
Local Parish Councillor David Porter criticised the way the news had come out. On Tuesday he commented “It’s not good enough that people have only found out about this by accident. A few people heard second hand when they got letters telling them that the developers wanted to put noise monitoring equipment on their property. Other people who live less than half a mile away and whose livelihoods could be ruined have still heard nothing from the developers.”
The developers hope to submit a planning application later in the summer.