Hartlepool wind turbine plans among tallest in the land ruled '˜invalid'

Plans for three of the tallest onshore wind turbines in the UK at Hartlepool have collapsed - to the delight of campaigners.

Wednesday, 31st August 2016, 5:00 am

Seneca Global Energy was given planning permission to erect the 574ft high turbines in the Seaton Carew area last year.

They were due to be built at Graythorp Industrial Estate, Brenda Road West

Hartlepool council chamber was packed for the planning meeting to decide wind turbine plans

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Industrial Estate and Tofts Road West.

The plans were later called in by the government after concerns from the public were raised over their potential impact.

All three applications have now been ruled invalid by Government agency The Planning Inspectorate which says the applicant failed to carry out enough public consultation before submitting the proposals to Hartlepool Borough Council in 2014.

Seaton Carew Wind Turbine Action Association, which said the turbines would be too overbearing and challenged the consultation issue, said the engagement had been “woefully inadequate”.

Hartlepool council chamber was packed for the planning meeting to decide wind turbine plans

Monica Vaughan, chair of the association, said: “The residents of Seaton Carew are delighted with this result.

“The Association repeatedly said that the pre-application consultation carried out by the applicant was totally inadequate, and that because of this Hartlepool Borough Council should not have validated the applications.”

The law requires that proper pre-application consultation must be carried out by applicants in wind energy schemes before a planning application is submitted.

Inspector Richard Clegg, of The Planning Inspectorate, said a 10-day consultation period, from May 23 to June 1, 2014 which included a bank holiday, was not long enough and did not cover a wide enough area given the size of the turbines proposed.

Mr Clegg said: “Consequently the applications are not valid and no further action on them will be taken by The Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State.”

An inquiry to decide the issue due to be held on October 4 has now been cancelled.

A Hartlepool council spokesman said: “Whilst the Council has a statutory duty to determine the planning applications, it is the responsibility of the applicant to undertake this pre-application consultation in an adequate manner.”

The Mail contacted Seneca Global Energy for comment but has yet to receive a reply.