Response to turbine worries

May we offer some information that may be useful in response to the comments made by our resident, Mr Mackintosh (‘Parish in a spin’ Village Views, February 2011).

Following the usual initial application review, a site visit was made 6/9/10 when the location was inspected and the applicants interviewed. Due to the unusual nature of this wind turbine application, we extended our research to include the height, sound, impact etc of such an installation.

We immediately decided to ask for the application to be ‘called-in’ whereby the full Bromsgrove District Council (BDC) Planning Committee makes a final decision rather than delegating their powers to an officer.

So, to confirm the timeline, action had been taken before any fuss had been kicked up.

The PC Planning Committee had a number of emails and calls, both in person and by telephone (some lasting as long as an hour) from concerned residents. All were taken seriously.

While Lickey & Blackwell Parish Council, among others, have been pushing BDC for a policy position and advice on similar installations, particularly since Dodford with Grafton PC received a commercial application, we believed that this would be an obvious test case.

We intended and believe our measured response to BDC represented all of our residents, including those expressing both arguments.

There is an open invitation for residents to address any of our regular PC meetings during a specified 10 minute Q & A, whether on a personal issue or one more community centred.

During the October session we extended a courtesy to Mr Mackintosh and allowed over 20 minutes to hear a prepared statement when representing the views of a number of local residents. We believe that the application notification was unacceptably poor and have taken issue with BDC to address this for the future.

As an aside, many will not appreciate that our Planning Committee sits fortnightly to consider all applications on behalf of the Parish and all its residents, offering a balanced and concise view, but focused on the planning matters. BDC is the local planning authority who make the decisions – the Parish Council is just one of a number of statutory consultees.

The December 2010 issue of our Newsletter dedicates a page to planning matters and procedures, which may prove enlightening.

In response to Mr Mackintosh’s final statement, the Parish Council precept for the current period is £23.51 per annum for a band D household. This represents but a small proportion of the whole council tax bill and as this is being reduced by over 10 per cent for 2011/12 we sincerely hope this may soften the blow a little.

As the first tier of government, I hope that the majority will appreciate it is a bargain and recognise the importance of having a Parish Council, particularly in the light of national Government’s desire for localism.

Mrs Helen Doherty
Executive Officer
Lickey and Blackwell Parish Council