St Radegunds Church    
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Minutes of the meeting held on 17th July 2013 in St Radegunds Church Maplebeck to discuss the wind turbine proposal at Mathers Wood.

 

Patrick Andrew as Chairman of Parish Meeting opened the meeting. Some 48 people were present, most of whom were from Maplebeck and the remainder were familiar faces from surrounding villages of Winkburn and Kersall.

Sudbury Trust

One brief item of Village business was to elect a trustee to the Sudbury Trust. Eve Knight-Jones proposed Jane Kinnear which was seconded by Trish Ferguson. It was noted that the other trustees are Eve Knight-Jones and Eddie Neale, with Vicar as ex-officio.

The Wind Turbine Proposal

PA then introduced Sylvia Michael, our District Councillor, and explained that Derek Sayer, a resident of Maplebeck, would chair the meeting as he had already done much research and had knowledge of Power Generation from his working life. Silvia extended apologies on behalf of Bruce Laughton, County Councillor, who was unable to attend due to illness.

Derek began by making clear his personal position with regard to wind turbines i.e. he was in favour of wind power generation in principle but was against the current proposed development because of the location and the impact on the local environment.
 
He gave thanks for the use of the Church and asked that all respect where they were and to also show respect to others, both applicants and other villagers alike. He then outlined how the agenda for the meeting and how it would be run.

Derek followed his document titled Maplebeck Proposed Wind Turbine (version 2) which had been circulated prior to the meeting.

He started by explaining that the purpose of the meeting was to focus on the planning aspects of the proposal made Jeff and Karen Wilson to construct a wind turbine near Mather Wood (“the proposal”),

  • not to discuss the merits or otherwise of wind turbines per se; and
  • not to  dwell on personal feelings or personalities involved.

It was agreed that the meeting would cover fives areas

  • What we know about the proposal
  • Application Status
  • The planning issues
  • How to proceed after the meeting, and
  • As requested by those present, a show of hands for and against the proposal
  • The Proposal – what do we know?

The community first became aware of the proposal as a result of Jeff Wilson’s e-mail dated 24th June, 2013 inviting members of the community to an open evening on 1st July. Further information about the proposal was obtained at that opening evening, however, some confusion about the details  and an number of inconsistencies about the proposal had emerged since the opening evening:-

    • The absolute and relative height of the turbine e.g. comparisons with neighbouring pylons. Representations made by the applicants agents, Fisher German, at the meeting suggested that the turbine would be smaller than was actually the case;
    • The perspective from the centre of Maplebeck, Winkburn and surrounding areas;
    • Photographs presented at the open evening, which were said to represent the proposed turbine, were of a 500kw plant but the proposal is believed to be for a 1,900kw plant. It was suggested that the discrepancy was due to the likelihood that the turbine would not be used to maximise electricity generation but would be down rated to maximise  income based on subsidies currently on offer.

Brian Allebon presented a scale drawing showing

  • the relative height of reference points including: local pylons 33.3m, the Hockerton Wind Turbine 47m, St Mary’s Church Newark Church 72m, and the proposed turbine 89m; and
  • a representation of section from the village green in Maplebeck to the proposed turbine site showing the change in ground elevation and illustrating the perspective from the village centre and the visual impact of the proposal.wind turbine comapible heights
    LARGER VERSION>>>>

Roger Bell, who now lives in Maplebeck, described the workings of the Hockerton Turbine based near Winkburn. He was one of the funders project and noted the benefits arising:-

  • Annual income £70,000,
  • return to shareholders 7.5%,
  • payments to the local community of £25,000 since inception, and
  • Energy conservation Grant £200 per dwelling.

He said he was pro turbines but not the proposal under discussion, because of its size and location.

It was noted that

  • an initial assessment had concluded that an Environmental Impact Analysis was not required on the proposed site; other bodies may have an interest and should be approached for their views / support i.e. English Heritage, Notts Wildlife Trust, CPRE and Natural England.
  • the Feed in Tariff (“FiT”) for wind power generation was due to be reduced significantly (by c. 50%) at the end of December 2013. To benefit from the higher rate, a site needed to come on line before the cut off date i.e. on or before 31st Dec 2013.

 

2) Application Status
 
As at 17th July 2013, a formal application for planning had not been made.

Sylvia Michael (District Councillor) explained that after an application had been submitted, a period of 6 weeks was available for comments / objections to be registered with the planning authority. This effectively means that the community has approx 4 weeks to respond once planning has been applied for.

It was agreed that Sylvia would notify Patrick Andrew immediately when a formal planning application was applied for.

3) Planning Issues

The following areas were noted as potential issues to raise at planning:-

  • Impact on the landscape, including visual impact
    • Mather Wood a SSI is c. 600 m from the proposed site
    • Dukes Wood is an ancient woodland
    • Littlewood’s land on the other side of the Caunton Road is designated a Mature Landscape Area.
    • A number ( 20 plus?) of listed buildings would be visually impacted
  • Bird life – not really an issue for planning. It was noted that the numbers of birds killed by wind turbines annually was infinitesimally small compared to those killed by domestic cats. 
  • Noise – the impact of the noise of the rotating blades and wind through them was cited as a factor in a number of health related areas – sleeplessness, headaches, nausea etc.  A site specific survey should be requested.
  • Flicker – the stroboscopic effect of light being interrupted by the rotating blades has been cited as a cause of dissyness, headaches and a trigger for epilepsy.
  • Impact on the local economy – a number of local businesses could be negatively impacted by the proposal
    • Readyfields Farm – essential to its Glamping offer is the tranquillity and beauty of the countryside. A turbine less than 600m from the glamping site would have a real and significant negative impact;
    • Other leisure businesses – dependent on tourism / visitors e.g. B&B’s, pubs and restaurants
    • Letting of domestic property
  • Impact on Property Prices – it was noted that the impact on property prices was not normally a factor for consideration at planning.

It was noted that a significant number of turbines had been erected in Nottinghamshire in recent years, particularly the proliferation of single unit sites. A discussion ensued about recent applications.

Sylvia Michael reported that the second application at Caunton by Robert Shaw (first was by Michael Arlington) had been referred for an EIA (Environmental Impact assessment) but was overruled on appeal; they also await outcome of appeal for George Vere Laurie near Ossington.

PA agreed to follow up with Sylvia to ascertain the number of and current status of applications in the area.

4) How to proceed / next steps

It was agreed that a working party be formed under the leadership of Brian Allebon - other members
Eve Knight-Jones, Anne-Marie Henham, Charlie Linney, Pam Littlewood, and Sarah Healy.

The working party would

  • Prepare a first approach to the applicants to reflect the concerns of the community. It was noted from the experience of a resident that the applicants have been open to persuasion in the past;
  • Co-ordinate all work necessary to prepare formal responses to any planning application and, in connection with this, undertake further investigations into the planning issues noted in 3 above;
  • consider the need for professional advice and assistance in preparing its response; and
  • recognise the potential costs involved and consider the establishment of a fighting fund should we need to employ professional advisors e.g. on appeal. A show of hands suggested that c. 12 people were prepared to provide support.

5) Show of hands

A show of hands indicated that

  • the majority of attendees were against the proposal,
  • no-one was in favour; and
  • a small number abstained.

 

    Posted 14th August 2013

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