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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Homes scheme in doubt if 328ft turbine approved for Cumbrian village

THE developer behind plans for 14 affordable homes in Cumwhinton says the scheme is in doubt if a 328ft wind turbine goes up nearby.

Builder AP & J Brown has outline planning permission for four retirement bungalows and 10 low-cost homes for locals next to Beech Cottage.

The site is close to Newlands Farm, where Bolsterstone Innovative Energy wants to put the turbine.

Carlisle City Council refused planning consent for the turbine last year prompting an appeal, heard at a three-day public inquiry at Carlisle Civic Centre last week.

Principal planning inspector Wendy Burden expects to deliver her decision next month.

In a last-minute intervention, Andy Brown, managing director of AP & J Brown, wrote to Mrs Burden urging her to turn down the appeal.

His letter says: “We are concerned the wind turbine....will have a detrimental effect on the proposed affordable houses because of the significant change in visual impact.

“On that basis, we are totally opposed to the planning application for the wind turbine.”

A previous application for three turbines was refused in 2010, following an inquiry, because the inspector felt they would have an unacceptable impact on Cringles Farm and Beech Cottage.

Mr Brown told the News & Star that it would be hard to sell his new homes with a turbine 600 yards away.

He said: “It would have an impact on the site. We would have to seriously consider whether to go ahead if it gets permission.”

AP & J Brown’s scheme is for a cul-de-sac with properties finished in stone and render under slate roofs.

Each would have two parking spaces and a garden.

More than 1,100 people objected to Bolsterstone’s planning application and some spoke at the inquiry, which closed on Thursday.

Mrs Burden’s decision is likely to hinge on whether the turbine meets the ‘Lavender test’, named after a ruling by inspector David Lavender at another public inquiry. He argued that turbines should be refused only if they “represent an unpleasantly overwhelming and unavoidable presence” in main views from a house or garden.

Summing up for the council, Richard Humphreys QC said: “When comparing the substantial harm to residential amenity with the benefits of a single turbine, the adverse impacts demonstrably outweigh the benefits.”

But Paul Tucker QC, for Bolsterstone, said the turbine would help the UK meet green-energy targets.

He added: “An unwelcome addition to the view is not justification for withholding planning permission. To assert that living conditions will be so unsatisfactory, as to not allow this situation to occur, is just wrong.”

JWhittle@cngroup.co.uk

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