Villagers raise concerns over wind farm plan

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Wednesday, 10.40am - ALMOST 150 people living near the site of a proposed wind farm got the chance to put their questions to planning experts on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 10.40am - ALMOST 150 people living near the site of a proposed wind farm got the chance to put their questions to planning experts on Tuesday.Melton Borough Council, which will consider Ridgewind's application to build eight turbines at the Palmer's Hollow site near Normanton, organised the meeting at Bottesford Village Hall.

Head of regulatory services Jim Worley and principal planning officer Kirsty McMahon answered questions put by people from at least 10 nearby villages.

The majority raised concerns, including noise, effect on health, the environment and the historical landscape, the economic viability of the project and the need to ask the developer for clarification on a number of issues.

James Ogilvy, president of anti-wind farm campaign group BLOT, asked how noise assessments could be made when the developer has not identified which make of turbine would be used.

One neighbour asked whether the Government's planning guidelines on sustainable development in rural areas would be taken into consideration.

She said: "Are we classed as a rural area or not? I would have thought this piece of guidance would be terribly important when looking at this application."

Edward Hennessy, of Normanton, wanted to know if the carbon emissions caused by constructing the wind farm would be offset by the amount of "green" electricity it would produce.

Mr Worley assured the meeting these issues would be taken into account when the application is considered.

Others wanted assurances that the planning committee's planned visit to a wind farm would not be conducted by a wind farm company and that they would visit turbines similar in size to the ones proposed.

Others asked for confirmation that parish council members with family connections to the wind farm site should declare their interest and withdraw from any future discussions about it.

Jamie Mawer, of BLOT, congratulated the council for insisting Ridgewind re-submit the application with an amended site area and the correct fee, which was done last week.

He said: "The initial planning fee was just over 10,000 but when the site area was changed they had to pay over 37,000. Well done for picking up on this, it has set a precedent nationally and developers are now having to pay more money for their applications."

The application is due to be considered in Bottesford in late March or early April.

Comments on it will be accepted by the council until the meeting date, which is yet to be decided.

To view the application and submit comments click here.

To see more stories on wind farms in the Grantham area click here.