CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a wind farm at Hemswell Cliff near Gainsborough have been given extra time for the applicants behind them to carry out extra work.
West Lindsey District Council has agreed RWE Npower Renewables Ltd can have an extra three months to carry out extra work required before their planning application for a windfarm is determined.
Back in July, RWE Npower Renewables submitted the application to build the farm on land 13km east of Gainsborough after months of suitability and consultation. The wind farm would stand up to 126.5m tall and would be capable of generating up to 25 megawatts of electricity - enough to meet the average annual consumption of 11,600 homes.
RWE have requested further time to provide more information in response to many of the comments received on the application.
WLDC say that some of this additional work will include:
- Additional bird surveys
- Further Archaeological investigations
- Preparing more images of what the turbines could look like at the site
The council say that a decision is now expected to be made on this application by February 2013, although this could be subject to further review.
WLDC Director of Planning and Regeneration Mark Sturgess said: “All councils have to follow national policy guidelines which include adopting a positive, proactive approach to working with applicants to resolve issues.”
“When an applicant has asked for time to resolve an issue then we need to give them that opportunity.”
He added: “This planning application is classed as a ‘major’ development.”
No To Local Wind Farms chairman Peter Baldwin said that they would not be giving up their fight against the plans.
“In some respects, we are not that surprised about this,” he said. “We submitted a million and one errors and things that we disagreed with from RWE’s planning application and they have also had various objections from very important groups and organisations.”
“We are pleased that such important people have such great reservations about these plans. Now, we’ll have some work to do when we find out what RWE come back with next time.”
He added: “Now we just need to keep people focussed and informed.”
Villages of the Cliff Against Turbines consists of residents from Hemswell Cliff, Bishop Norton, Snitterby, Willoughton, Blyborough, Caenby, Normanby by Spital and Spital in the Street. VOCAT chairman Mr Ernest Charles Coleman said was one of the first to raise his concerns regarding the potentially damaging effect that the wind farm could have on bird life, local archaeological landmarks and the lives of nearby residents.
“I don’t believe these reasons that RWE have given,” he said. “They are an absolute nonsense.”
“What’s on and near that site is of huge archaeological and historical value and this wind farm would destroy that - there’s no answer to that.”
He continued: “Also, there are species of bird becoming extinct because wind turbines are just knocking them out of the sky.”
Neil Parnell, RWE npower renewables Developer responded by saying: “We have received a number of positive responses during the planning consultation process and are continuing to work with West Lindsey District Council to ensure we examine any matters which are raised by consultees.”
“We have recently carried out a consultation on how potential community funding associated with the wind farm could be spent.”
He added: “ I would like to thank the many local residents who took the time to take part in the consultation and am pleased to say that we hope to be in a position to publish the results of this shortly.”
The application also includes a permanent and temporary mast, substation and control building, a temporary construction compound, construction of underground electrical cabling and new access tracks and upgrade of existing access tracks and site access points from the A15 and Middle Street for a period of 25 years.
The application (reference 128940) and accompanying plans are available online at www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/planning/