Council’s last minute U-turn on plans for wind farm in Churchover

Residents have fought off three applications for a wind farm in Churchover
Residents have fought off three applications for a wind farm in Churchover

Campaigners are celebrating after the council deemed the third application for a wind farm in a quiet village ‘invalid’.

Energy firm RES resubmitted the application to build a four-turbine Swift Wind Farm in Churchover, Rugby.

But the application was declared invalid by the council just before it was due to be heard by the planning committee. Rugby Borough Council said the company had failed to carry out a public consultation, resulting in the application being invalid.

Dan Patterson, RES’ development manager for Swift Wind Farm, said: “It’s hugely disappointing that Rugby Borough Council has now decided that our pre-application consultation was insufficient, when we - and the community - have spent the past few months waiting for a committee date to be confirmed.

“This eleventh hour change of tack has deprived the application of a local decision now that the previous reason for refusal is no longer a consideration, and has incurred unnecessary time and money for both RES and the council.

“Of those who participated in our public exhibitions in 2013, over 70 per cent registered themselves as in favour of the proposed development.

“We can only hope that, with the council having abrogated its responsibilities in this way, the appeal process delivers a fair result for the Borough.”

A spokesperson for campaign group Against Subsidised Windfarms Around Rugby (ASWAR) said: “The incompetence of the giant corporation RES to submit an invalid application has wasted the community’s time. ASWAR is amazed with the subsidy speculator’s lie that there is 75 per cent support when the Rugby planners have received 275 objections with five in support!”

A Rugby Borough Council spokesman said: “Having taken expert legal advice on the detailed application of recent Government regulations, the council has taken the decision the planning application is now invalid as the applicant has failed to fully comply with the requirements for pre-application consultation.”