EDF Energy submitted plans for a giant new wind farm to be established on land at Bullington Cross, to the west of Basingstoke and south of Whitchurch in Hampshire.
The proposed wind farm site would have been located near to the junction of the A34 and the A303. The site covered at least two parliamentary constituencies (Winchester and North West Hampshire) and the planning application was heard by three local authorities (Winchester City Council, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and Test Valley Borough Council)
The company carried out feasibility work and local consultation during 2012 and subsequently set about putting together a formal application as well as an organised, and well-funded lobbying campaign in favour of the project.
Winchester MP Steve Brine received lots of inquiries from constituents living near the site (and some living not so near) and wrote in opposition to the plans. He had previously met with EDF and with local parish and city councillors concerned about the proposals.
Steve liaised with his neighbouring MP; Sir George Young from neigbouring North West Hampshire on the subject. He is pictured right; with George Young, Cllr Stephen Godfrey from WCC and members of the EDF team on-site examing the outline plans.
Two public exhibitions were held at Whitchurch Parish Hall on Wednesday, July 4th and Thursday, July 5th 2012 and on Saturday September 29th (pictured left) in Sutton Scotney courtesy of EDF Energy and Wonston Parish Council. This was followed by a Q&A session, chaired by the PC Chairman Iain Henderson. You can still download the flyer from this event here (as a PDF). A further open drop-in meeting was held in Sutton Scotney on Saturday 17th November 2012.
On 5th June 2014 the three planning authorities who would ultimately consider the application published their officer recommendation to be considered by councillors at the subsequent planning committee meeting. They all recommended REFUSAL.
EDF Energy's formal planning application was heard by all three local authorities at a special meeting on Monday 16th June 2014 at Winchester Guildhall. You can view the application here in full and see the Winchester Planning Committee page here containing all committee papers, including the officers reports.
All three authorities REFUSED the application so it was NOT granted planning permission. We now wait to see if the applicant digs deep and submits an appeal which they are entitled to do.
The national policy perspective
The coalition Government, in the Spring of 2013, tightened the guidance on wind farm applications to ensure a greater say for local communities. This involves allowing people to have much earlier and better involvement in turbine plans, a five-fold increase in benefits to be paid by developers to local communities and saw actual planning guidance changed to make clear need for renewable energy does not automatically override concerns of local communities.
Written Ministerial Statement from Eric Pickles MP 'Local planning and onshore wind' (June 2013)
Letter to Local Authority Leaders and Planning Inspectorate with new guidance (June 2013)
Written Ministerial Statement from Ed Davey MP on reduced taxpayer subsidy for onshire wind (June 2013)
Full planning practice guidance for renewable energy (July 2013)
Written Ministerial Statement from Eric Pickles MP strenghtening local environmental considerations (Oct 2013)
Letter from DECC Conservative Minister Michael Fallon MP to Steve Brine outlining the approach a future Conservative Government would take to onshore wind. (April 2014)
More information ...
Hampshire Energy Group (pro wind farm organisation)
MEDIA LINK - New research on wind energy acoustics (via RenewablesUK)
MEDIA LINK - BBC Radio Solent discussion (from 28.08.13)
Watch a short-film from Steve Brine TV
Wonston Parish Council contacted via - firstname.lastname@example.org
Winchester City Councillors for Wonston & Micheldever Ward:
Cllr Stephen Godfrey - email@example.com
Cllr Barry Lipscomb - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Malcolm Wright - email@example.com
The Woodmancott Down wind farm is a seperate proposed development - visit Steve's pages here.
Do you have a local issue you would like to campaign on alongside Steve Brine? Get in touch today - see here.