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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Turbine will be twice height of Carlisle Civic Centre

A 74m (243ft) wind turbine – nearly double the height of the Civic Centre – has been given planning permission, despite councillors’ concerns that it is too big.

But they have put off decisions on a second turbine near Durdar and on a proposed wind-monitoring mast north east of Longtown.

They will visit the sites before making up their minds next month.

The Great Orton turbine, behind Midtown Farm, will generate electricity for the farm and feed any surplus into the National Grid.

It measures nearly twice the height of the Civic Centre, which stands at 41m (134ft). It is close to six wind turbines on Great Orton Airfield.

Carlisle City Council received four objections, raising concerns about the cumulative effect of successive applications for single turbines on the Solway Plain. But planning officers recommended the scheme for approval yesterday.

Councillor Ray Bloxham told the development control committee: “I can’t find a planning reason to say ‘no’ to this but I have to say I am rather concerned about it.

“I don’t believe these windfarms do what they say on the tin. They’re not as effective as they’re cracked up to be.”

Fellow Conservative Bryan Craig, who represents Dalston, said: “I feel the height is excessive for the single building it is supposed to serve.

“I have no issue with a 30m turbine on a farm but to have a 74m high turbine is a blot on the landscape.”

He said the council should have a policy to prevent turbines being built close to residential property.

The turbine was approved although all five Conservative councillors abstained.

Councillors agreed to visit Low Glendinning Rigg at Penton before deciding an application from Empirica Investments for a 50m (164ft) wind-monitoring mast.

This would gather data to gauge the suitability of the site for wind energy.

The council has received 20 objections, including one from Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart who says he is “strongly opposed to the proliferation of wind farms in Cumbria”.

They will also visit High Burnthwaite Farm at Durdar to assess a proposal for a 78m (256ft) turbine.

This has brought seven objections.

Councillor William Whalen said: “It is vital that we demonstrate that we take these matters very seriously and no stone is left unturned before we decide such planning applications.”

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