At a Special Planning Committee meeting, held in the Epic Centre at the Lincolnshire Showground, councillors met to determine the future of a historic skyline for a generation to come.
RWE Npower Renewables Ltd had submitted the application to erect a 20 to 25 mega-watt (MW) wind farm at Hemswell Cliff. It would have include 10 turbines, which measure 126.5 metres to the tip and would include supporting infrastructure.
The meeting began at 2:00pm on Wednesday, 30th October, with presentations of evidence from supporters and opponents of the scheme. Sir Edward Leigh MP, who represents the area, was making a flying, mid-week visit to the constituency; having received a group of students at the House of Commons in the morning from Caistor and returning to Parliamentary sessions in the evening. Sir Edward highlighted issues around civil and military RADAR interference, the impact on the viability of the RAF Scampton base, in the constituency and how it's low-flying Red Arrows squadron could be badly affected. Sir Edward reiterated the objection of VOCAT (Villages of the Cliff Against Turbines) and local Parish Councils to the siting of such turbines in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Sir Edward said:
"Hand on heart I am totally opposed to this application."
Local West Lindsey District Councillor, Cllr. Paul Howitt-Cowan, who represents the Hemswell ward, addressed the meeting at some length and proposed additional recommendations, beyond those of the planning officer's report, to the committee. Fellow Conservative, Cllr. Lewis Strange, who represents the area on Lincolnshire County Council also encouraged the Planning Committee to reject the planning application. The meeting adjourned.
The committee reconvened at 6:30pm, to a packed hall of over 450 people, some with placards saying 'No to Wind Turbines', to determine the application for planning permission.
Following over an hours discussion and debate between members of the committee, cross-party amendments were made to the Officer's recommendation to include additional heritage sites and eject the application on the additional grounds of impact on the protected visual landscape.
The committee vote unanimously to reject planning permission on the following grounds:
- The proposed development would significantly intrude upon and dominate the setting of nearby heritage assets
- The proposed development would result in significant harm to archaeological sites in the area
- The scale of the development , number of turbines and their siting would have an adverse visual impact on the setting and appearance of local landscape character
The hall erupted into a cacophany of cheers and applause.