Hemswell Cliff: Wind farm plans rejected

VOCAT chairman Ernest Coleman speaks to the Gainsborough Standard about their opposition to the plans by RWE nPower Renewables to build a ten turbine wind farm at Hemswell.   (w120917-2b)
VOCAT chairman Ernest Coleman speaks to the Gainsborough Standard about their opposition to the plans by RWE nPower Renewables to build a ten turbine wind farm at Hemswell. (w120917-2b)

Campaigners fighting against a wind farm being built on land at Hemswell Cliff are celebrating after the planning application was refused.

A huge cheer went up from the hundreds of people who had attended the special planning meeting at the Epic Centre at the Lincolnshire Showground yesterday (Wednesday).

The West Lindsey District Council planning committee voted unanimously to refuse the application for a ten turbine wind farm put forward by RWE Npower Renewables.

Earlier in the day a number of people had spoke passionately against the farm and urged the committee to protect the local landscape.

Ernest Coleman, chairman of Villages of the Cliff against Turbines (VOCAT), said the plans amounted to ‘cultural vandalism’.

“It is difficult to find any redeeming features in its favour,” he said.”

Barry Dutton, chairman of Hemswell Parish Council, spoke on behalf of 14 parish councils affected by the proposals.

“It is hard to imagine a less suitable site for a wind farm than this one,” he said.

“This is not about whether you are for or against wind farms or the need for renewable energy, it as about whether this development is suitable for this location - and it is not.”

As well as the visual impact, people also raised concerns about safety, noise and the turbines causing a distraction to drivers.

Sir Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, told to committee the wind farm could threaten the future of RAF Scampton if built.

“Lincolnshire has a proud history of military aviation,” he said.

“We worked hard to keep RAF Scampton open as a military facility and it is secure until 2020.”

“I believe building a massive wind farm at Hemswell Cliff would threaten the long term future of the base.”

Neil Parnell, the scheme’s project manager from RWE Npower Renewables, said the project was as much about community investment as it was about generating energy.

He said he had taken officers comments on board about the affect the farm could have on the Grade II listed Norton Place.

“Having considered the arguments we would offer to remove turbine five from the scheme,” he said.

But despite his offer, the plans were refused.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Coleman said he was ‘delighted’ with the decision.

“I hope they have got the message that they are not wanted,” he added.

By RWE Npower Renewables’ Mark Crawford said he hoped there was still a future for the plan.

“We are disappointed but not surprised,” he said.

“We will go away and take stock of where we are and the reasons for refusal.”