Spring Farm Ridge Wind Farm Public Inquiry Ends. Blimps to be flown during Inspector’s site visit on Thursday 31st October.

Blimp previously flown next to the wind farm site at proposed turbine height of 125 metres (410 feet)

Blimp previously flown next to the wind farm site at proposed turbine height of 125 metres (410 feet)

Following the end of the public inquiry on 24th October, the Inspector’s accompanied site visits will take place on Thursday 31st October. On that day look out for the two blimps which, weather permitting, the action group will be flying at either end of the proposed wind farm site from about 10 am to 4.30 pm.

See next page for the latest situation following the inquiry, together with the evidence given at the inquiry including the closing submissions by the barristers for South Northants Council, Broadview Energy Limited and Helmdon Stuchbury and Greatworth Windfarm Action Group.

The well attended three week long public inquiry into the proposal for five 130 metre (410 feet) high wind turbines on the Spring Farm Ridge site between Helmdon and Greatworth ended on Thursday last 24th October. On behalf of the Helmdon Stuchbury and Greatworth Windfarm Action Group three witnesses eminent in the fields of planning, landscape architecture and acoustics gave their professional opinions that the proposal was unacceptable because of 1) the visual and noise impact upon local people, 2) the impact upon the unspoilt local landscape, 3) the impact upon treasured local heritage assets such as conservation areas and listed buildings and 4) the dangers posed to users of the local footpath and bridleway network and the B4525 road. A long list of local people appeared at the inquiry to endorse these opinions based upon their local knowledge and experiences.

In closing the case for the developers, Broadview Energy Limited, their barrister quoted rather selectively from the government’s June 2013 statement on renewable energy as follows: “…appropriately sited onshore wind….has an important part to play in a responsible and balanced UK energy policy..” He said that the Spring Farm Ridge Wind Farm is appropriately sited and can and should play its part in our low carbon future. However, the government’s statement said many more things of importance to local people which he did not quote. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, said: “The views of local people must be listened to when making planning decisions. Meeting Britain’s energy needs should not be used to justify the wrong development in the wrong location.” Energy Minister, Michael Fallon said: “Today, we are putting local people at the heart of decision making on onshore wind. We are changing the balance to ensure that they are consulted earlier and have more say against poorly sited or inadequately justified turbines.”

New government guidance was issued which, said Eric Pickles, “makes it clear that need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the views of local communities should be listened to.” His concern for the views of local people to be taken into account in deciding appeals such as Spring Farm Ridge was further expressed during the course of the inquiry when he said: “….some local communities have genuine concerns that when it comes to developments such as wind turbines and solar farms insufficient weight is being given to local environmental considerations like landscape, heritage and local amenity.” He said that he intended to make the final decision himself on a number of renewable energy appeals so that he “can consider the extent to which the new practice guidance is meeting the Government’s intentions”.

Within days of making this statement he decided that the Spring Farm Ridge Wind Farm appeal was one of the appeals upon which he will make the final decision himself. The Inspector who presided over the recent inquiry will therefore simply present his report to Eric Pickles with a recommendation as to whether it should be allowed or dismissed. From the above summary of government intentions it can readily be seen that the Secretary of State will give close attention to the views of local communities when making his decision.

It is of vital importance, therefore, that everyone who objects to the proposed windfarm writes to Eric Pickles, setting out, in the same terms he used himself, their “genuine concerns that insufficient weight is being given to local environmental considerations like landscape, heritage and local amenity”.

The letter should be addressed to Mr Pickles at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Email: eric.pickles@communities.gsi.gov.uk.and obviously should have your address and a personal signature. They should be headed: APP/Z2830/A/11/2165035, Proposed Spring Farm Ridge Windfarm, Helmdon/Greatworth, Northants. Each person in a household wishing to object can send a letter of his or her own. The letter might make reference to the fact that you are given to understand that the appeal in respect of the refusal of planning permission for the proposal is to be decided by Mr Pickles, in order to ensure that the views of local people are properly considered in line with the latest government planning policy guidance.

Subject, of course, to your own views, in making your objection the letter might make reference to the proposal being unacceptable for some or all of the following reasons, enlarged upon as you see fit:

the visual and noise impact upon local people

the impact upon the unspoilt local landscape,

the impact upon treasured local heritage assets such as conservation areas and listed buildings

the dangers posed to users of the local footpath and bridleway network and the B4525 road.

It would be useful also to send a copy of the letter to our local Member of Parliament Andrea Leadsom, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Email: andrea.leadsom.mp@parliament.uk

Written letters are best but emails are also acceptable.

See closing submissions by Barristers at the Inquiry:

Asitha Ranatunga for South Northants District Council

David Hardy for Broadview Energy Limited

Richard Honey for Helmdon Stuchbury and Greatworth Windfarm Action Group

PROOFS OF EVIDENCE OF WITNESSES FOR THE THREE MAIN PARTIES AND STATEMENTS SUBMITTED TO THE PLANNING INSPECTORATE BY OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

 

SOUTH NORTHAMPTONSHIRE COUNCIL

Barrister: Asitha Ranatunga

 

Witnesses (in probable order of appearance)

Naomi Archer (Heritage).

Cultural Heritage Proof of Evidence.

Cultural Heritage Proof of Evidence (Summary).

Cultural Heritage Proof of Evidence (Policy and Methodology).

Annex to Proof. English Heritage Letter.

Annex to Proof. National Trust response.

 

Kate Ahern (Landscape)

Relevant Experience.

Proof of Evidence.

Proof of Evidence (Summary)

 

Richard Hall (Public Rights of Way)

Proof of Evidence.

Appendices to Proof of Evidence.

 

Daniel Callis (Planning and Policy)

Proof of Evidence.

Proof of Evidence (Summary)

Appendix to Proof of Evidence.

 

BROADVIEW ENERGY LIMITED

Barrister: David Hardy

 

Witnesses (in probable order of appearance)

Andrew Brown (Cultural Heritage)

Proof of Evidence.

Proof of Evidence (Summary)

Appendices to Proof of Evidence.

Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

 

Jeffrey Stevenson (Landscape)

Proof of Evidence.

Proof of Evidence (Summary)

Appendices – This file is too large to upload onto this website. A hard copy of the document may be seen at the Council Offices, South Northants Council, Towcester.

Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

 

Stephen Arnott (Noise)

Proof of Evidence.

Proof of Evidence (Summary)

Appendix to Proof of Evidence.

 

David Bell (Planning Policy)

Proof of Evidence.

Proof of Evidence (Summary)

Appendices.

Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

 

HELMDON STUCHBURY AND GREATWORTH WINDFARM ACTION GROUP

Barrister: Richard Honey

 

Witnesses (in probable order of appearance)

Alison Farmer (Landscape and Cultural Heritage)

Proof of Evidence

Proof of Evidence (Summary)

Appendix A

Appendix B

Further appendices to Alison Farmer’s Proof of Evidence are too large to upload on this website and hard copies of this document can be seen at the Council Offices, South Northants Council, Towcester.

Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

 

Robert Davis (Noise)

Proof of Evidence

Proof of Evidence (Summary)

Appendix to Proof of Evidence

Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

 

Michael Muston (Planning Policy)

Proof of Evidence

Proof of Evidence (Summary)

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

Appendix 1 to Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

Appendix 2 to Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

Appendix 3 to Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

Appendix 4 to Rebuttal Proof of Evidence

 

INTERESTED PARTIES

Natalie Atkins (Grange Farm, Helmdon)

Statement

 

Peter Burns (Chairman, Helmdon Parish Council)

Statement

 

Robert Cross (Resident of Astwell, on behalf of horse riders)

Statement

 

Bob Haynes (Resident of Greatworth)

Statement

 

Roger Miles (Resident of Helmdon and Helmdon Parish Footpath Warden)

Statement

 

Nicholas Peart (Chairman of Greatworth Parish Council)

Statement

 

Edward Tims (On behalf of Michael and Joan Tims, Stuchbury Hall Farm)

Statement

 

Nicholas Ward (Chairman, Sulgrave Manor Trustees)

Statement

Report, Trustees of Sulgrave Manor

 

Veronica Ward (Resident of Greatworth and Member of Greatworth Parish Council)

Statement

 

Colin Wootton (Sulgrave resident, on behalf of Sulgrave Parish Council)

Statement

Appendix 1 (Sulgrave Heritage Assets)

Appendix 2 (Sulgrave Rights of Way)

Appendix 3 (Loss of Visual Amenity)

Appendix 4 (Traffic Implications)

Comments on Broadview Proof of Evidence by Stephen Arnott(Noise)

Comments on Broadview Proof of Evidence by David Bell (Appendix 6 re B4525 road)

Appendix 1 to the Comments

Appendix 2 to the Comments

Appendix 3 to the Comments

Appendix 4 to the Comments

Appendix 5 to the Comments

Appendix 6 to the Comments

 

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