Stephenson Halliday is delighted that Carlisle City Council has chosen to adopt a rational approach to the recent Ministerial Statement on wind energy by approving a 500kW wind turbine at Greenlands Equestrian Centre near Wreay. Stephenson Halliday prepared the planning application for the proposal, including a full Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment.
The planning application for the 67m high turbine was submitted in July 2015, one month after the release of the Secretary of State’s Ministerial Statement which recommended that wind turbines should only be approved if they are within areas designated for wind energy in a local or neighbourhood plan, and if they have community backing. In all other respects, the proposal was deemed acceptable by the LPA; the crux of the decision therefore rested on the balance of the Ministerial Statement against the benefits associated with the proposal.
The proposal attracted a high number of representations, both for and against. The planning officer identified that there is no guidance provided as to what constitutes ‘community’ but noted the petition and letters of support signed by users of the equestrian centre. Given that the applicant had successfully addressed the concerns raised by those objecting, the LPA decided that the proposal does have community backing.
In common with the majority of LPAs, there are no areas within Carlisle designated for wind energy; the LPA submitted their draft Local Plan to PINS one week after the release of the Ministerial Statement and are aware that they will need to address this requirement in the future. In the absence of such designations, the LPA correctly regarded the Statement as a material consideration and weighed it against the numerous benefits associated with the proposal, including its contribution to renewable energy generation and the income generated from the turbine that will assist in sustaining a rural business. On balance, the LPA decided that the proposal is acceptable.