Heath and Reach turbine decision deferred for up to two months

Wind turbine in Heath and Reach from the sky. Photo Graham Mountford PNL-141231-124139001
Wind turbine in Heath and Reach from the sky. Photo Graham Mountford PNL-141231-124139001

Central Bedfordshire Council has decided to defer the committee discussion over Checkley Wood turbine for up to two months after issues arose over Green Belt.

Today, a CBC spokesman said: “It is recommended that consideration of the application be deferred for up to two committee cycles.

“Legal advice from counsel has been received in respect of the construction of the report with particular regard to Green Belt issues and consequently Counsel advises that consideration of the application be deferred.”

As reported in today’s Leighton Buzzard Observer, the proposed turbine is the same model as the current Double Arches turbine and had previously been recommended for approval by council planning officers in their official report.

But within Heath and Reach, a lobby group – Stop Checkley Wood Turbine (SCWT) – has been formed in opposition to the plans.

SCWT spokesman Terry Ellis said: “TV reception and interference is one problem we’ve had [with the current turbine]. There’s also noise and the blight on the landscape.

“You can see the current turbine from almost anywhere in South Bedfordshire and we know the impact that it has had on every day life. These are not unfounded fears of something that may happen, we’re speaking having already lived with a massive turbine.”

Eight parish councils have submitted objections and SCWT has shored up a petition of 582 signatures against the proposals, as well as a 42-page document outlining the lobby’s grounds for opposition.

But this document has drawn criticism from the agent behind the application, Engena Ltd, who claimed the document contained “inaccuracies”, “general statements” and lacked scientific evidence, with one case study regarding birds quoted from The Spectator magazine.

Engena director John Fairlie said: “SCWT state that they have been given a mandate by local people, through their parish councils, to oppose this proposal... Given the inaccuracies in the SCWT document, we are concerned that objections based upon this document have been established against incorrect information.

“We note that the text present in the SCWT document is also within the Woburn Parish Council objection and the document is referred to within the Heath and Reach Parish Council objection.”

The applicant for Checkley Wood Turbine is Checkley Wood Farm Ltd, a subsidiary of Arnold White Estates. Engena Ltd also acted as agents for the original turbine.