This is SHCG’s press release.
Bolsterstone Plc has suddenly withdrawn their case against the Welsh Ministers. This happened just 4 days after the date for Judicial Review in Cardiff Court had been announced for 16th December and local resident Stephen Hugh-Jones, Chairman of Stonewall Hill Conservation Group opposing the development, had been accepted as an Interested Party against the developer.
The Reeves Hill Wind Farm project, started by land-owner Sir Simon Gourlay in 2008 and developed by Bolsterstone Plc, is for four 344 ft. high turbines perched up on Stonewall Hill, right on the England-Wales border in the beautiful, historic landscape of the Welsh Marches, close to Offa’s Dyke. The turbines are 100m into Herefordshire but all access is from Powys. There was huge local and national opposition to the application to Herefordshire Council. Powys Planning Committee voted to recommend refusal. Stonewall Hill is much loved for its stunning views. 93% of residents of Norton, the nearest settlement, do not want the wind farm.
When Herefordshire finally issued permission for the wind farm in 2012, Bolsterstone applied to Powys to build a substantial new private road and make major alterations to the Powys country lanes leading to the turbines. Powys Planners received opposing legal advice from SHCG and the Developer on whether they could take the impact of the turbines into account when deciding on access, and sought advice from the Welsh Assembly Government.
WAG ruled that the turbines and the access would have a cumulative impact on Powys and quoted CADW advice that Grade 1 listed Stanage Park would be adversely affected. They required Bolsterstone to submit a full Environmental Impact Assessment of the whole project to Powys.
Bolsterstone claimed that Herefordshire had already considered the impact of the turbines on Wales, so Powys had no right to look at the environmental information again. Now they will have to obey the WAG ruling and submit full information on the impact on the landscape and historical heritage of Wales.
Stephen Hugh-Jones said, “We are all absolutely delighted. At last, despite the developer’s desperate efforts to subvert democracy, local people in Powys can have a say on this deeply unpopular wind farm which will ruin Stonewall Hill. It will be visible for many miles around as a blot on the lovely unspoilt Marches landscape. It is too close to Stanage Park and Offa’s Dyke. Two landowners and one development company would make a huge profit at the expense of many people in Wales, Herefordshire and Shropshire who love their countryside. The important local tourist industry and value of local housing are under serious threat.“
Note: Powys Planning Committee voted unanimously on 5.9.13 to refuse the 23 turbine Garreg Lwyd Wind farm just 10 miles further west into Wales because it would threaten the landscape, National trails and cultural heritage.