June 30, 2014 | Renewables News
A planning application for a new three-turbine wind farm in south Cumbria has been withdrawn by the developer behind the scheme.
Banks Renewables’ planning application for the three-turbine Killington wind farm, which would have been located to the south of the A684 Sedbergh Road, adjacent to Junction 37 of the M6, was approved by South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee in January this year by a majority of seven votes to three.
Despite this clear local support, the Council’s decision was ‘called in’ for determination by the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government before the planning permission could be issued, and was due to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate at a public inquiry to be held later this year.
However, in the light of the recent policy announcements and overwhelmingly negative decisions by the Secretary of State towards onshore wind farm developments in England, and to avoid further unnecessary costs resulting from an inquiry that would be payable from the public purse, Banks has now reluctantly withdrawn this planning application.
Banks has conducted an extensive public dialogue around the Killington scheme over the last two years, and gathered a wide range of local backing for it, with more than 1,400 letters of support being submitted to the Council in advance of the planning committee meeting.
A range of economic, social and environmental benefits form part of the overall Killington wind farm proposals, including a community benefits fund amounting to up to £1.25m over the 25-year lifespan of the scheme, and new facilities that would have delivered fast broadband to the local area for the first time.
The broadband plan was developed by Banks in response to the priorities expressed by local people when they were asked how the community benefits fund linked to the wind farm could best be allocated.
Up to 50 people would have been working on site through the construction of the wind farm, and local businesses would have been able to tender for contracts worth around £2m in relation to different aspects of its development, including construction, security, accommodation and catering.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “We have a strong case to put before the public inquiry, but in the present political climate for onshore wind farm planning applications in England, we know we are unlikely to get a balanced consideration of the merits of the project as a whole, so have decided to withdraw our planning application with immediate effect to save further costs being unnecessarily incurred by the local Council.
“The National Planning Policy Framework puts particular emphasis on decision-making being focused at a local level, but seeing a clear mandate from a local council withheld at a national Governmental level shows that this principle is not actually being realised in practice.
“A clear majority of the members of South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee voted in favour of our Killington wind farm proposals, and judged that the economic, environmental and community benefits it would bring to the area and to the local community outweighed any issues that had been otherwise raised about them.
“The Killington wind farm remains a well-designed scheme in an entirely suitable location that has had considerable local backing over the last two years, and we’re especially grateful to the 1,400 people who took the time to send letters of support about it to the Council, the vast majority of whom live within ten miles of the site.
“We will be reviewing the site, and the planned provision of broadband for people and businesses in the area, in due course.
“With many significant energy and environmental challenges facing the UK over the coming years, modern, efficient, indigenous onshore wind farms like Killington have a crucial role to play in generating more of the clean, green energy that we all use in our homes, schools and businesses.”
For more information relating to the Killington project please visit http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/killington//