Lower Alt Wind Turbines – West Lancs Planning Committee meets on 10th November to determine whether they will go ahead or not

Readers of this blog site will be aware that Labour members of West Lancs Planning Committee were not prepared to make a decision on this most controversial of planning applications a couple of weeks ago so it was deferred. They can’t keep ducking the issue so it’s back before them on 10th November.

The Planning report has changed a bit and is detailed below but the substance of the recommendation, to reject the application, is as it was in my view. The deferment last time was supposedly because the Labour members had not had time to read the papers and consider the matter fully.

7.0 DEPARTURE APPLICATION
7.1 This proposal is a significant Departure from the Development Plan in that it
involves a development normally inappropriate in the Green Belt. The application
should, therefore, be referred to the Secretary of State if the Council were mindful
to grant approval.

8.0 RECOMMENDATION

8.1 That planning permission be REFUSED for the following reasons:-
Reasons for Refusal

1. The proposed development constitutes inappropriate development within the
Green Belt which would be harmful to the Green Belt by definition, contrary to the
National Planning Policy Framework and Policy GN1 in the West Lancashire
Local Plan Development Plan Document 2012-2027. In addition the proposed
development would have a significant adverse impact upon the openness of the
Green Belt and conflict with one of the purposes of including land in the Green
Belt, aimed at safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. The very special
circumstances advanced in favour of the proposed development, namely the
provision of renewable energy, are considered insufficient to outweigh this harm.

2. By virtue of its siting, height and scale the proposed development would be
harmful to the visual amenity and landscape character of this part of the Green
Belt contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework, Policies GN3 and EN2
of the West Lancashire Local Plan Development Plan Document 2012-2027 and
the Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance “Natural Areas and Areas of
Landscape History Importance”.

3. The development of the proposed 12 turbines would due to their height, scale,
proximity and extent cause harm to the significance, to the historic setting, of a
number of designated heritage assets (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas).
The proposal in this respect fails to meet the statutory duty as required by
Section 66(1) and Section 72 (1) of the Planning (Listed Building and
Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The Council does not consider the stated public
benefits, including the provision of renewable energy, outweigh the harm
identified (less than substantial) to the designated heritage assets affected. The
proposal is therefore contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework and
Policy EN4 of the adopted West Lancashire Local Plan Development Plan
Document 2012-2027.

4. The proposed development conflicts with paragraph 118 of the National Planning
Policy Framework and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations
2010 (as amended) and Policy EN2 of the West Lancashire Local Plan
Development Plan Document 2012-2027 in that insufficient information has been
provided to demonstrate that the proposed development would not adversely
affect internationally designated sites, their qualifying features and supporting
habitat.

5. The proposed development fails to comply with the National Planning Practice
Guidance in that the site is not allocated as suitable for wind energy development
in the West Lancashire Local Plan Development Plan Document 2012-2027 and
the planning impacts identified by local communities in relation to the green belt,
landscape character, heritage assets and ecology have not been fully addressed
and therefore the proposal does not have their backing.

Lydiate and Ince Blundell Parish Councils both opposed the plans a long time ago and their concerns seem to be mirrored by the comments of the professional planning officers at West Lancs Council.

Note: Whilst the site for the turbines is in West Lancashire it is on that strip of land that cuts into Sefton Borough between Lydiate and Ince Blundell Civil Parishes.

The Planning Committee meeting will be held in the offices of West Lancs Council in Derby Street Ormskirk and the meeting starts at 19.30hrs.

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