October 31 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Eric Pickles has got it wrong on two Suffolk renewable energy schemes, Conservative MP Peter Aldous has said ahead of a debate tomorrow where he will urge the government to call a fresh inquiry on a local application.
The Waveney MP will call for the government to order a fresh planning inquiry into the controversial 125-metre high wind farm near Beccles, which is currently being contested by some of the local community in the High Court.
Waveney District Council refused Stamford Renewables’ application to build the turbine on land near Barsham last year, on noise and visual impact grounds. Mr Pickles declined to recover the case, despite strong local pressure for him to do so, after a successful appeal by the developer. In the Westminster Hall debate today, Mr Aldous will also call for the Department for Communities and Local Government to publish the details of all the cases called in by the Secretary of State so MPs can debate if its planning policy is working.
Mr Aldous will also cite the plans for the Ellough solar farm, which was given the go-ahead by local planners and recommended for approval by a planning inspectorate, but was turned down when it reached Mr Pickles’ desk.
He will tell a minister that he believes the way the two renewable energy project proposals were handled is wrong. “We have a planning authority in Waveney District Council, whose officers have done the right thing. They have put in place their own new policy from which they determine applications,” he said. “Based on the different reactions I have had to the two schemes, the way they have been handled is wrong.
“As far as the Ellough scheme is concerned I have had one person who has written to me against the scheme, that was the one the secretary of state decided to recover.”
But, Mr Aldous said, the wind farm proposal, which was opposed by many people living the Barsham area, had been given the go-ahead. He cited HALT, a residents’ group that was formed to fight the wind farm plans, Beccles Town Council and nine parish councils.
“I think the wrong case has been recovered,” he added.
He said that the Localism Act and local policy guidance had been put in place so that communities would not be excluded.
“Yet here we have a local community who have not been listened to,” he said.
He also raised concerns that the Broads Authority concerns about the impact on the valley had been ignored, and said he believed it would set a precedent.
The debate will be held in Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament this morning.
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