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PS – 55:
(PS-55: Letter to Planning Committee Members from
The Community Against Severndale Wind Turbine Group
drafted by Robert Hillman)
Dear Planning Committee Members,
I am writing to you in advance of the forthcoming 11 August committee, as a representative of the local affected community who are opposed to Severndale wind turbine and who will have just a 3 minute opportunity to address you on the day.
This application has created significant concerns and impact on those who live within the communities of Tidenham and Stroat. Your planning officer has dealt admirably with the volume and complexity of the application. It has led to extensive energy and time commitments by many individuals, entering into detailed correspondence with the planning authority, putting forward their concerns and queries. Not all of this correspondence has made it onto the planning portal associated with the application. Hence the need to bring this summary to your attention, in advance of the meeting.
Set out below is a summary of the principle concerns the affected community has and the reasons why we believe the committee should support your officer’s recommendation for a refusal of the application:
Our objections and the reasons why the planning committee should refuse the application are based on the following:
• There has been a lack of affected local community involvement and open discussion regarding this application;
• The applicant’s agent has used data in contravention of data protection laws as documented by the Information Commission Office Decision for case RFA0584190 of 21 July 2015. This is in relation to parts of their application and as such information from the alleged public exhibition meeting at which comments from the community were sort, should be disregarded;
• Following the House of Commons written statement of 18th of June, there is a clear lack of “affected local community” support for this scheme. The written statement is clear that such support should provide the final say so on such applications. Please note the word “affected local community” in the written statement. In the event of a refusal, the applicant is likely to appeal the decision. We feel the written reasons for any refusal should be robust and specifically contain reference to the lack of community support;
• The elected Tidenham Parish Council, representing the immediate area continues to object to the application;
• The elected Parish Council of Oldbury on Severn objects to the application on the basis it will materially affect the landscape value, historic environment and amenity of public rights of way on both sides of the estuary and the application does not provide a comprehensive cumulative picture of the effect turbines are having on the Severn Estuary as a whole;
• Analysis has been submitted that clearly highlights on a parish map that public respondees within Tidenham Parish itself are against the application. This ignores any online canvassing, or the use of pre-populated letters, parties with conflicted interests to the applicant and just highlights those who have expressed their own personal and researched views. It provides a clear indication of an overwhelming majority of people within the parish that do not support this application;
• The height and prominent location of the moving turbine , at 87m to tip located on top of a 22m hill above estuary level, will be a significant intrusive impact on the landscape, character and general visual amenity. It will be detrimental to the vista of the Severn estuary flood plains;
• The Ramblers Association object as the proposal would result in a loss of visual amenity from public rights of way. They have concerns this will affect tourists, as well as local walkers and talk of visible and negative effects as a direct result of the turbine from both sides of the Severn Vale;
• The Council’s own conservation advisor continues to highlight that the proposed development will fail to preserve the settings of the listed buildings at Philpots Court and Tippets Barn. He also highlights the harm that will be caused to non-designated heritage assets at the Former Vicarage and village school at Tidenham. All in contravention to section 66 of the planning (listed building and conservation areas) act 1990 and the National planning policy framework Section 12;
• Historic England continue to comment that the turbine will cause harm to the significance of the Roman Villa at Boughspring. Commenting there needs to be clear and convincing justification that the public benefits outweigh that harm (in accordance with NPPF 132);
• Gloucestershire County Council Archaeology have raised concerns regarding adverse impact on settings of similar designated heritage assets;
• We have significant concerns regarding the last minute submissions and then the process of a local authorities biodiversity officer seemingly being able to swiftly accept the ecology effects as satisfactory via a simple walkover survey on 1st of July. This contradicts with previous concerns that both bird and bat surveys are outdated, having been undertaken 4 years ago in 2011. Whilst clear recommendations for planning conditions are recommended, the apparent ability for an officer to rely on data more than 4 years old is questionable in terms of both appropriate practice and open governance. Especially given that Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust highlight internationally protected species being present at the site in 2011. The officer’s approach is in stark contrast to the RSPB’s written letter of objection submitted to the planning authority dated 26 May 2015 (which is not shown on the Planning portal);
• The council’s sustainability team leader continues to advise the council that the application will result in significant adverse landscape impact, does not meet the local authorities guidance and fails to meet the requirements of chapter 10 of the National Planning Policy Framework;
• As a local community we have significant road safety concerns with regard to the accident black spot that is the A48. This relates to both the short and long term affects and has been over simplified by the single statutory consultation. In recent weeks the Forrester newspaper has reported on the need to reduce the local casualty rates on the A48 and in particular to its southern sections. Also within the last few weeks we are aware of 3 vehicles being in the hedgerow/accidents very close to the layby near the site. We are also tragically all too aware of at least one fatality and serious injury within very close proximity in the last 12 months. These accidents, and the foreseeable risks of a distracting turbine and vehicle movements in the area, are completely overlooked by Gloucestershire Highways, who have commented on just construction traffic. The local authority cannot ignore these published concerns for improving the road safety, or the foreseeable risk of a distracting 87 metre moving turbine in close proximity to a recognised accident black spot. A single distraction on a 60mph high-speed single carriageway (where speed limits are frequently ignored by motorcyclists and cars) will directly lead to further accidents and fatalities; and
• Queries have been raised on the accuracy of figures in relation to the community fund payments. Recent submissions by the applicant are endeavouring to persuade the council that significant monetary payments will outweigh the negative impact of the turbine on the affected community. It is questionable as to whether the figures submitted are commercially deliverable. It is also clear the council has no ability to control any such agreements, either via attaching planning conditions or being party to such agreements. As such this cannot be relied on. The officer has clearly recommended that this material should not be a consideration in determining the application.
It is on this basis that the harm identified in respect of the landscape, heritage assets and lack of support from the affected community significantly outweigh the benefits of the application and planning consent should be refused.
Finally, we are surprised that the decision to arrange for the application to be heard in August was feasible, given we were told previously by council officials this would be presented at September’s committee to allow full consultation and appropriate reviews. The need to withdraw the application from the July committee was as a direct result of late submissions by the applicant. We have concerns that this change of date to the August committee raises questions of transparency. And whether there may have been undue influence due to the applicant’s disclosable pecuniary interest and that the non-material planning matters as contained in the applicants letter of 15 July on community benefit (In which the applicant details commercial funding risks associated with a September committee decision) have been weighted in favour of the applicant. This information, in line with other published planning appeal decisions, falls outside the scope of Section 106(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and fails the tests set out in Regulation 122 of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 as amended. It should therefore not be a material consideration to the planning process or decision.
Please ensure this correspondence is taken on board fully in making your decision next week.
Robert Hillman BSc (Hons) MRICS
For and on behalf of The Community Against Severndale Wind Turbine
ADLAM, Jackie & Peter
AVERY-BROWN, Liz & Bill
BROOKES, Tracey & Andy
BROWN, Louella & David
CROSS, Nigel and Samantha
FORD, Claire & Roger
GOATMAN, Fiona & Robert
HILLMAN, Robert & Alison
HOLLIES, Lindsay & Mark
LANCE-WATKINS, Lee & Greg
MAYO, Molly & Keith
NAIRNE, Andrew and Sue
REES, James & Clare
SMITH, Pam & David
WRIGHT, Sue and Peter
We believe the information gathered on this site can act to bring the truth, regarding the dishonesty of the claimed benefits of Wind Turbines (WT) to the front of people’s minds as they are regularly taxed, in a hidden tax, on their energy bills to fund these politically correct and fundamentally all but useless monstrosities.
We have gathered a great deal of information in our efforts to prevent the industrialisation of Stroat and the banks of the Severn Estuary and across the wider area including the Forest of Dean (FoD) as administered by The Forest of Dean District Council (FoDDC), areas of outstanding natural beauty (AoONB), sites of special scientific interest (SSI) & wildlife habitats.
Please help to spread the truth about the Wind Turbine scam and the fundamental flaws and lies of the ‘Warmists’ & self proclaimed ‘Greens’, which are presented as ‘fact’, regarding the anthropogenic influence of mankind on Global Warming and Climate Chance.
Arm yourself with facts to defeat the biggest con of the late 20th and early 21st Century, and do please spread the truth and the URL of this site as widely as you can.
Posted by: Greg Lance – Watkins (site owner)
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