New twist in Vale windfarm bid

THURSDAY 8AM: A green energy firm has been slammed for appealing against a decision yet to be made.

Melton Council failed to reach a decision on Ridgewind's application for eight turbines at Palmer's Hollow near Bottesford within the set time limit.

The Oxfordshire company has now submitted an appeal on the grounds of 'non-determination' - just days after the decision date was set.

Jamie Mawer from Belvoir Locals Oppose Turbines, said: "Ridgewind is basically playing the planning system. We would have preferred it all went through the proper, democratic process but I can't see the inquiry finding in favour of a windfarm - not after the appeal at Thackson Wells was rejected.

"Ridgewind made assurances that it wouldn't appeal on these grounds because the timetable slipped after it altered its planning application. But now it has pulled the carpet from under the council's feet.

"It is going to waste thousands of pounds. If we can get enough money together we will also have legal representation at the inquiry."

The saga started in January when it was revealed Ridgewind failed to pay the correct fee with another delay when it altered the plans to include taller turbines in February.

Because the timetable slipped, the Oxfordshire firm can now submit an appeal and planners at Phoenix House are waiting for the official word from a Government inspector.

Jim Worley, head of regulatory services, said: "It is frustrating that they have chosen to go to appeal but it is the appellants prerogative to do so, and they have a right in law. Most people don't use this right, some regard it as counterproductive."

The news came just after the council announced the meeting would be held in Bottesford because of a high level of interest and it has yet to decide if this meeting will go ahead.

Ben Moore, Palmer's Hollow project manager, said: "There is nothing underhand about this route, it is totally legitimate. It would have made sense if Melton Council had kept within the time frame, we just want to do what's best for the project."

*Melton Council's development committee meeting was set to meet on Thursday, August 27 in Bottesford village hall at 6pm. It has yet to decide if that meeting will go-ahead.