Beauty spot row sparks probe

A PUBLIC inquiry is set to be held over plans to install a new electricity line which farmers say would “decimate” one of the area’s best-loved beauty spots.

David Melling says picturesque Maddocks Farm, Kings Moss, which has been in his family since 1928, will be “split in two” if a proposed Kirkby-Orrell electricity line is given the green light for construction.

Plans for the line, which could see a dozen tall wooden poles and an overhead line installed on the 74-year-old’s 140-acre Pimbo Road farm, were initially knocked back by a planning committee.

But re-submitted plans have since been given the thumbs-up.

Now, a schedule of public meetings has been set to discuss the proposed development - the first of which will take place at Holland Hall Hotel in Upholland at midday on November 15.

A four-day inquiry is then set to be held in May next year.

Earlier this year, Mr Melling told the Reporter: “I know I’m biased, but I think that of all the region’s beauty spots – this one is the nicest.

“We’re not opposed to the supply of electricity. We just want the line to run underground.

“We’ve already got a power line running over our land, which has been here since the 1950s, but that one doesn’t impact on our day-to-day work.

“The new one would effectively split our farm in two and affect our use of modern farm machinery - we would constantly have to work around the poles.

“But the plan is to fetch the 1950s power line underground and the new one overhead - it doesn’t make any sense.

“The new line would also affect the pink-footed geese that feed here every winter. We can’t just stand by and let our local countryside be decimated.”

The power line is proposed to run overhead near popular hiking trails as it stretches up from Kings Moss, near Billinge, towards Wigan.

A spokesman for Electricity North West said: “We have carried out a full consultation with the planning authorities and with all affected landowners and have adjusted our plans where possible to cause minimum disruption and reduce any environmental impact.

“The new line is essential because we need to reinforce the network to ensure security of electricity supplies to a large number of consumers.

“We will ensure that the line is built and maintained in line with all legislation and safety requirements.”