Marr and Melton Wood Action Group

On Wednesday 27th September 2006, Banks Developments unveiled a plan to construct between four and seven 125m wind turbines on green-belt farm land opposite the village of Marr in South Yorkshire. This blog will chart the progress of the local movement as it fights to oppose the scheme.

18 April 2010

It's about to start.

The work to install the high voltage feed into the electrical grid is underway. The bridleway down St.Helens Lane has been closed for a number of weeks and Barnburgh Lane, between Barnburgh and Goldthorpe will be closed for 10 weeks. More disruption then over the summer, with further road closures in Barnburgh and along Hangmanstone Lane, as the two ends are linked together. With this progressing, it is safe to assume that site works will commence shortly.

Update

One year on and no turbines in place. There has been very little activity on site, save for the erection of 4 wooden marker posts where the towers will eventually sit. I suspect that the manufacture of the turbines is taking longer than expected and that demand is high at the moment, so Banks have been canny in at least marking out the plots so that they can declare that they have started on-site. My guess is that we will see progress in the Spring/Summer of '09. In the meantime, we will continue to cherish the beauty of the area - while it remains unspoilt.

15 January 2008

The End

Just to complete the story - the action group pursued the fight by:

- making an official complaint to Doncaster Council regards the manner in which the planning application was processed
- made a similar complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman - who responded that there was no case to answer
- requested that Doncaster Council take into account a specific list of recommendations from local residents when imposing planning restrictions on Banks - no response received

You will probably have seen that Banks have erected an anemometer on the site. No doubt that the turbines are currently being manufactured and site clearance will begin in the spring.

23 July 2007

No. 10 Downing Street Petition

A petition has been raised on the No.10 Website and can be accessed at the following link. Please sign-up and forward the link to others to do likewise. We will need over 30,000 signatories to make this one of the top 5 petitions

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/windfarm-blight/

The wording of the petition is as follows:


We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop all
current on-shore Wind Farm development in Greenbelt areas until
a national planning policy for renewable energy has been
established.


The Government has set regional targets for renewable energy
generation. While this is a commendable approach to climate
change and carbon emissions, the lure of subsidies has created
a rush of planning submissions from developers. Local Councils
are under severe pressure to approve schemes and are being
forced to consider placement within greenbelt areas, many with
designated landscape value. Our countryside will become
blighted if we allow this to continue and many communities will
be disrupted by noise. As an example, to meet the target for
Yorkshire, an on-shore wind Farm the size of Bradford will need
to be built. Without intervention, this will happen by
stealth, with a small windfarm being developed seemingly every
other village. I call for the Government to re-issue guidelines
to only allow on-shore developments to be sited on brownfield
sites at least 2km away from residential property. Indeed,
large-scale developments should only be considered for
placement off-shore.

Not too late to object!

The planning application now has to go to the Local Government Planning Office to endorse the fact that the Planning Application is contrary to the Doncaster Unitary Development Plan in allowing this type of development in an area of Greenbelt designated as having great landscape value.

The Local Government Officer has indicated that he will consider objections.


THE DECISION CAN STILL BE STOPPED IF YOU ACT NOW

You should write to the Local Government Planning Officer with immediate effect at the following address:

Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber Lateral
8 City Walk
Leeds
LS11 9AT

Quote Planning Reference: 07/004445/FULA

In your own words, state the following:

- that you object to the scheme

- that you do not feel that the scheme was considered fairly at the Doncaster Council Planning Meeting held on the 26th June 2007 due to the fact that:
o the applicant was given an inordinate amount of time to respond to questions
o objectors were not allowed to respond on points made by the applicant
o the applicant dismissed one Councillors arguments as ‘absolute gibberish’
o the only assurances given on noise levels were that they ‘should be OK’
o discussions were inconclusive and based almost exclusively on noise with insufficient time spent considering other factors

- that the applicant was unfairly allowed to sway Councillors’ decisions by attending the site visit

- that documents submitted by the Marr and Melton Wood Action Group were not circulated to Councillors as specifically requested

- that the planning application was complicated and difficult to understand

- that the Environmental Impact Assessment was prepared by the applicant and has not been independently verified

- that the concerns of the vast majority of residents have been ignore

- that the decision should be the subject of a Public inquiry

26 June 2007

We lost!

Today at the Planning Committee, Doncaster Councillors voted 6 to 4 to approve the Wind Farm Application. This now goes forward, with Doncaster Councils blessing to the Secretary of State for final approval. That step looks to be a formality.

Action Group Members and representatives of Marr Parish Council were gutted at the outcome. Disappointingly, there was no representation from Hickleton, Barnurgh and Harlington or High Melton Parish Councils.

Concerns over noise were debated at length and then largely dismissed by Doncaster Environmental Health Department. The impact on Greenbelt and the fact that the site is within an area of 'great landscape value' were dismissed and hardly debated.

The action group will lobby the Secretary of State, but are not hopeful of overturning the decision. We will also lobby for certain conditions to be applied - particularly around noise and the construction/traffic plans.

My guess is that site works will begin in the Autumn.

Keep watching the site and I will report progress. Maybe the information will be of help to other campaigners facing a similar plight.

15 June 2007

Letter of Support and Objection

Much has been made of the fact that more letters of support have been submitted in support of the Windfarm than those that have objected. So today I sat down in the Planning Department and went through each and every letter.

Firstly letters of support for the proposal. This was a simple task as there were just three standard letters that had been photocopied and submitted. I suspect that these had been handed out in the Market Place. I did not see one letter that had been handwritten. It is also interesting to see that of the 228 letters of support submitted - 15% did not have a Doncaster post-code and 2 were from outside of the UK (Gibraltar and Texas!). It is also worthy of note that only a single letter of support was received from one of the effected villages.

Of the 132 letters of objection, many were lengthy and hand-written and some were supported by newspaper clippings and extracts from reports. It was clear that people felt strongly about the proposal and were worried about the impact that the development would have. There was strong objection from all of the surrounding villages.

Thank you to anyone that took the time to sit down, think about the issue and put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

The distribution by area was as follows:

Letters of Support
Central Doncaster - 15
Aukley/Finningley/Branton - 6
Intake/Wheatley/Wheatley Hills - 23
Balby/Hexthorpe/Warmsworth - 35
Woodlands/Carcroft/Skellow/Adwick - 11
Bessacarr/Cantley - 16
Sprotbrough - 8
Armthorpe - 2
Hatfield/Dunscroft/Stainforth -10
Moorends/Thorne - 9
Bentley/Scawthorpe/Arksey - 19
Rossington - 16
Haworth/Bircotes/Bawtry - 3
Cusworth/Scawsby- 7
Askern/Norton - 4
Edlington - 7
Barnby Dun/Edenthorpe/Kirk Sandal - 3
Out of Doncaster - 31
Out of UK - 2
NFA - 1
Barnburgh - 1
Total - 228

Letters of Objection
Marr - 49
Barnburgh & Harlington - 51
High Melton - 13
Sprotbrough - 11
Hickleton - 2
Melton Brand - 2
Brodsworth - 1
Goldthorpe - 1
Cusworth/Scawsby - 2
Total - 132