Councillors left with “no choice” but to approve mast plans

08:35 04 April 2014

The view from Aldreth Causeway

The view from Aldreth Causeway

Archant

Councillors admitted they were left with little choice but to approve a renewable energy firm’s controversial plans to erect a 60m high anemometer near Haddenham.

Despite impassioned pleas from neighbours of Berry Fen, where the mast will be erected, East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee said it could find no sound planning reason to refuse the proposal.

As such, REG Windpower’s plan was passed seven votes to one, with only Isleham councillor Derek Beckett voting to refuse the application.

Haddenham councillor Gareth Wilson said: “We haven’t got any statutory body that is saying that this is going to be a real problem for airfields or for bats and birds.

“We may feel that the odd swan might be affected by these things but we have asked the experts on this subject and they all say there isn’t a problem so we can’t assume there will be.

“If we refuse something that is then approved by a planning inspector because we haven’t followed the rules, we will have to pay the costs. We have to protect the tax payer.”

And Cllr Mike Rouse added: “I think that if any of the consultees had come out and said ‘don’t touch it’ then we would have had some grounds to refuse but everybody has been consulted and nobody appears to have objected to this. I don’t see grounds for us to refuse.”

Campaigners opposed to the plans, and the anticipated wind farm, have vowed to keep fighting despite their defeat.

The anemometer, to be located in Berry Fen, will be used by REG to gather data on wind speed before it submits a further application for four huge wind turbines.

A local campaign group has inundated the district council with objections, more than 170 in writing, and MP Sir Jim Paice and Haddenham councillor Bill Hunt have also spoken out against the plans.

The application did also receive almost 40 letters in support.

But, despite their objections, council planning officer Penelope Mills said there were insufficient grounds to refuse this stage of the plans.

An application for four wind turbines is expected to follow next year.

1 comment

  • It should be noted that 37 of the 40 letters of support were standard letters compiled by the paid 'REG Flyer Squad' and submitted by the same. All of the 170 objections were written individually! Also note that the data provided by the mast will not be made available to the council or anybody else other than REG for commercial purposes!

    Report this comment

    SGCheetham

    Friday, April 4, 2014

More news stories

Cordia Wind Quintet

The Cordia Wind Quintet entertained an enthusiastic audience in the Hayward Theatre on Thursday June 23.

Yesterday, 16:39
Trains in and out of Cambridge disrupted

Rail travel across Cambridgeshire has been severely disrupted by overhead wire problems.

Yesterday, 15:32
Building can begin in September 2016 - as long as it receives £1.5m in funding from Sport England.

Building of the new £13.5m District Leisure Centre in Ely is to begin in September after East Cambridgeshire District Council gave it the green light this week.

06:33
East Cambridgshire Business Awards 2015
Medium Business of the Year winners Ellgia Recycling

Last year’s main Ely Standard Business Awards winner Steve Crook and his company Ellgia Recycling are following their success in 2015 by sponsoring the Medium Business of the Year award.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up