Regrettable News from Allerdale!

Allerdale Borough Council’s Development Panel met on 25th November, with four turbines on the agenda. All of these were recommended for refusal by officers who properly used the policies contained in the new local plan. One turbine (at Dundraw Farm) was refused on a unanimous vote by members.

The other three, despite the recommendations for refusal, were approved on majority votes. As a result, we will be seeing new turbines at Oughterside Mill, Arkleby House and New Grange Farm, Dearham.

As Councillor Tony North pointed out at the Panel, there is a local plan in place and the proposals made, and reasons given, by Councillor Martin Wood to approve the turbines were unarguably contrary to the plan. One of the reasons given by Councillor Wood to support his proposal to approve the Oughterside Mill application was that there had been no local objections. Despite the fact that this was not the case, the assertion was not challenged and the application was approved.

The applicant at Oughterside Mill is also a councillor and a member of the Development Panel. Councillor Jim Lister addressed the panel on the subject of his application but took no further part in this particular meeting.

After the meeting, a request was made to the Secretary of State to ‘call in’ the application for independent determination. At the time of writing there is a Holding Direction in place which prevents Allerdale issuing the approval notice before the Secretary of State has decided whether or not to call the application in. Whilst call ins are not common, we can only hope that this will be an exception!

The reasons proposed for approval of all three turbines were broadly the same – no local objections, not visually intrusive, of benefit to the farm and no adverse cumulative effect. Inevitably there is some level of subjectivity when it comes to the issues of visual intrusion and cumulative effect. But clearly the planning officers believed that the impacts would be adverse and tried to implement the new local plan in order to protect the landscape and residents.

It was abundantly clear at the panel just how important it is for local people, who would be affected by a development proposal, to make their voices heard.

One significant difference between the Dundraw application and the others was that there were two speakers against the proposed development at Dundraw, whilst there was no-one speaking against the other three. Although this might not have affected the result, had there been speakers, it would have been plain to the Members that there were local objections and that people wanted their voices heard.

Applicants/agents spoke in favour of the applications that were approved.

Sadly, it seems that we cannot simply rely on a recommendation to refuse, but need to keep up the pressure until the final decision is made. This not only includes ensuring that written representations are made, but also having speakers at the Panel meetings so that councillors are left in no doubt about how people feel.

The application at Carwath is still ongoing after almost two years. West Coast Energy have finally submitted the results of additional noise monitoring that was carried out earlier in this year. It appears, however, that there are significant gaps in the information that has been provided. Hopefully this point will be pursued until data is supplied which includes sufficient detail to be meaningful. The fact that the application is still current does of course mean that if you want to object, or add to a previous objection, you still can at:

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=104760

One piece of good news is that the appeal at Kelsick House Farm, Abbeytown, was dismissed in November this year. The primary ground for dismissing the appeal was significant harm to the character and appearance of the landscape, coupled with modest harm to the setting of the AONB.

An application has been submitted to Eden District Council for a 77 metre turbine at Barrock Fell. This application can be found at:

Planning Application Number:

14/1019

Site Address:

BARROCKEND FARM ARMATHWAITE CARLISLE CA4 9TQ

Description:

Installation of a 500kW wind turbine on a 46.9m monopole mast (77m to blade tip) and associated infrastructure including foundation, crane pad access track and underground cabling.

http://eforms.eden.gov.uk/fastweb/comment.asp?AltRef=14/1019&ApplicationNumber=&AddressPrefix=&Postcode=ca4&Submit=Search

FORCE has been asked to circulate the above details and also to let you know that a public meeting, arranged by the group set up to oppose the Barrock Fell application, is to be held on December the 13th at Armathwaite School at 3 p.m. Rory Stewart M.P. will be at the meeting and it would be great if as many people as possible could attend and show their support for the group and also Rory Stewarts’s proposed bill for a required minimum setback distance between wind turbines and dwellings.

The address for Armathwaite School is:

Armathwaite Primary School

Armathwaite

Carlisle

CA4 9PW

On a slightly different note, FORCE has been asked on several occasions now (including by the press) whether we have a view on applications for industrial scale solar farms such as the ones at Westnewton (approximately 80 acres or almost 45 football pitches – approved) and Bothel (approximately 70 acres or almost 39 football pitches – still pending). Any views from members most welcome.

And finally…………………

Hopefully 2015 will be a good year, fewer applications and more refusals.

Thank you for all your support to date – have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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