Wind turbine ruling deferred for site visit

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A PLANNING committee has called for a site visit before ruling on controversial plans to erect giant wind turbines at the foot of Billinge Hill.

Proposals to erect two 35m-tall turbines on Promised Land Farm, near the local beauty spot, were due to be decided on at St Helens Town Hall last night.

But several committee members told of their unease at making a ruling without a site visit, and the decision was deferred.

If given the go-ahead, the turbines, including the blades, would reach a maximum height of 61m - taller than the London landmark Nelson’s Column.

In addition to the turbines, it is also proposed to create access tracks, areas of hard standing, control buildings and underground cabling.

Alan Abbott, who runs neighbouring Fir Tree Farm, told the planning meeting he “couldn’t think of a more inappropriate site to install these turbines”.

Rainford councillor Allan Jones likened it to the Dark Ages, with a wealthy landowner ruling the roost over all their neighbours.

He added: “This is the finest green belt area in St Helens. It’s not called Promised Land for nothing.”

But Paul Kirkham, speaking on behalf of applicant Karl Spratt, told how experts had been employed to ensure that all planning guidelines were “met or exceeded”.

He said: “We need to embrace renewable energy and this is a viable yet sympathetic application. These turbines would generate enough energy to power 614 homes.”

No date for a visit has been set.