Agenda item

S/1663/04/F - Boxworth and Conington

Appendix 1 (Environmental Assessment) and Appendix 2 (Objection Summary) can be viewed on the Council’s website at by clicking on the logo then Committees > Development and Conservation Control Committee > Browse Meetings > 6th April 2005.  Appendix 3 is available only as hard copy.


Refused, unanimously, for the reasons set out in the report from the Director of Development Services.


The Committee considered a detailed report for a Wind Farm consisting of 16 Wind Turbines, Anemometry Mast, Substation and associated infrastructure on land to the south west of Huntingdon Road (A14 Trunk Road) in the Parishes of Boxworth and Conington for Cambridge Wind Farm Ltd.


The Development Control Quality Manager updated Members on developments since the report had been published.  These related, among other things, to further comments about noise, the impact on wildlife and industrial processes involved in extracting electricity from the facility,  He reported that Cambridge Airport would require a further 6-8 weeks to respond fully to consultation.  Referring to the reasons for refusal set out in the report, he said that numbers 3, 5 and 6 were, in effect, “holding reasons”   Were Members to refuse the application, and the Council was obliged to defend that refusal at appeal, any or all of reasons 3, 5 and 6 could well be withdrawn but, at the same time, new reasons could be introduced. 


Members made the following points:



Cambridgeshire had already made significant progress towards meeting the 2010 target with regard to wind energy


The applicant had an agreement with an adjoining landowner for an additional nine turbines, were the current application to win approval


The proposal could have serious repercussions for improvements to the A14 Trunk road


Consideration should be given to the feelings of local people, other development pressures on the countryside, compliance with planning policies and the adverse impact on the character of the countryside and quality of life


The possible distracting effect for drivers on the A14, and implications for aviation safety


There were significant issues of noise and scale: but while an “industrial” facility such as this was seen as inappropriate on this site, the Council should reaffirm its commitment to renewable energy, where appropriate


The proposal would have an adverse effect on the amenity of local residents, including interference with television signals


There should be a national assessment of suitable sites, with local authorities responsible for individual wind turbines and central government responsible for the siting of larger wind farms


Greater emphasis should be placed on siting wind farms off-shore in order to meet demands for renewable energy


The Strategic Development Officer referred to the ambitious target, set in a White Paper on energy published by the Government in February 2003, to reduce CO2  emissions by 60% by the year 2050.  He acknowledged that, as technology advanced, and economies of scale took effect, the cost of constructing, and importing electricity from, off-shore wind farms would reduce dramatically.


The Development Control Quality Manager reminded Members that, should the Local Planning Authority resolve to refuse the application, its reasons for doing so must be justifiable and material planning considerations.  In particular, the question of whether or not this wind farm was needed in order to meet the County’s 2010 and 2020 targets was irrelevant, and the argument for and against off-shore wind farms was one for national, not local, debate.  The issue of interference with television reception could be addressed and, therefore, was also not a relevant consideration.


Councillor NJ Scarr proposed that health and visual impact, and the adverse effect of the proposal on the amenities of local residents should be added as reasons for refusal.  The proposition was seconded by Councillor SGM Kindersley.  The Head of Legal Services urged Members not to rely on reasons which, at this stage, could only be viewed in very general terms.  Noise was still an unknown quantity and if the applicants dealt with this aspect fully – as they would have to on any appeal – noise and its impact on the amenities of local residents could well be an important issue then.  The visual impact was assessed in the report already and enshrined in the reasons for refusal.  He added that, were the application to be refused, and an appeal was lodged, the Council could always add reasons for dismissal of appeal at a later stage which would form part of any pre-inquiry statement.  Voting was as follows:



For the proposition

14 votes

Against the proposition

14 votes



Those registering their presence but not voting



Taking into account the advice from the Head of Legal Services, the Chairman cast his second vote against the proposition which therefore fell.


A local Member warned the Committee that, due to the size and location of the proposal, the likelihood of motorists on the A14 being distracted was such as to make it inevitable that there would be road casualties, some of them fatal.


Members expressed their appreciation for an excellent and very detailed report prepared and presented by the Development Control Quality Manager.


The Development and Conservation Control Committee resolved that the application be REFUSED for the six reasons set out in the report from the Director of Development Services.


Members requested that the vote be recorded.  The results were: Approve the Application 0, Refuse the Application 28, Abstentions 0, Those registering their presence but not voting 0.  The following Members registered their presence and voted to refuse the application: Councillors Dr DR Bard, RE Barrett, JD Batchelor, RF Bryant, Mrs PS Corney, SM Edwards, R Hall, Mrs SA Hatton, Mrs JM Healey, Mrs CA Hunt, HC Hurrell, SGM Kindersley, RB Martlew, MJ Mason, Mrs JA Muncey, Mrs CAED Murfitt, CR Nightingale, Dr JPR Orme, EJ Pateman, A Riley, Mrs DP Roberts, NJ Scarr, Mrs DSK Spink MBE, JH Stewart, RJ Turner, JF Williams, Dr JR Williamson and SS Ziaian-Gillan.


Councillor NIC Wright declared a prejudicial interest in this item, due to his close involvement on a local and personal level, and withdrew from the Chamber.


Mr Harvey Binnie, Chairman of Boxworth Parish Meeting, and James Kelman, speaking in the absence of Conington Parish Meeting’s Chairman (Councillor NIC Wright) both addressed the meeting.

Supporting documents: