Dear SHCG Supporter,

SHCG is disappointed that Bolsterstone Plc. has made an 11th hour Appeal against Herefordshire’s refusal to discharge Condition 14 of the Reeves Hill Wind Farm Permission. The consultation time just happens to coincide with the Christmas period!

If Sir Simon looses this Appeal, he will have lost consent for RHWF.

The permission said that development had to begin within 3 years, which means by 25th April 2015. Condition 14 is about water management and is one of several conditions which had to be discharged before development began.

Bolsterstone’s Application, to discharge the Conditions is dated 27th March 2015. Herefordshire had not still decided whether to approve by 24th April and so Sir Simon made a start to his wind farm development to prevent his permission expiring. You will all have seen SHCG’s dramatic aerial photos of this. He hoped that Herefordshire would discharge the conditions later, with retrospective effect so he would not lose his permission – a risky and well-tried strategy which sometimes succeeds.

Herefordshire consulted a drainage expert about the Developer’s Surface & Ground Water Management Plan. The Drainage Consultant Report says they need to know the results of hydrology investigations before development begins. The Developer says their plan describes how they would do the investigations later, during construction, and that this is good enough. SHCG agrees with the Drainage Expert that Sir Simon should not get permission to carry on construction without proper safeguards, based on investigation rather than wishful thinking. Safeguards are essential to protect flooding over Stonewall Hill road, stop water run-off causing erosion of neighbours’ land and access to dwellings, and to stop pollution of neighbours’ private drinking water supplies.

Herefordshire took legal advice and told Bolsterstone that they would not discharge Condition 14 which says:

Before development is commenced a detailed surface water and ground water management plan to include e details of associated drainage and sediment control and a timetable for implementation shall be submitted by the developer/operator to the Local Planning Authority and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The scheme shall be implemented as approved.

The Planning Inspectorate appeal reference is APP/W1850/W/15/3137440. The dates for submissions are given on the Planning Inspectorate website but the relevant  documents, with Herefordshire’s reasons for refusal, the Developer’s Grounds for Appeal, and all correspondence from all other parties, can only be found on the Herefordshire Council Planning Portal .

SHCG’s submission and other third party comments must be in by 31st December. The Planning Inspector will have already seen the many letters which SHCG and supporters have written since the application to discharge conditions was made on 27th March 2015. We must not waste the Inspector’s time by repeating ourselves.

New comments should be about why the Developer’s Surface and Ground Water Management Plan is not good enough to discharge Condition 14. Please submit these direct to the Planning Inspectorate <mailto:teampl@pins.gsi.gov.uk> or send them to SHCG to incorporate into our submission.

The Appeal will be decided on written evidence (not at a public hearing) sometime in the New Year.

SHCG will fight this appeal and we know we can count on your support.