This open letter to the full town council was written by Andrew Reeves-Hall, one of this website’s editors, who has been participating in the debate following the Town Council’s Development Committee decision to oppose the Bullington Cross wind farm planning application – see our story on that meeting HERE.
22nd May 2013
To my Town Councillors:
I was at the Town Council’s Development Committee meeting on Monday to hear the debate about the proposed Wind Farm at Bullington Cross. I witnessed them voting to oppose the development application.
I note that two council members, copied on this correspondence, who were not members of the committee came to the meeting in order to express a wider council view and have noted their position in support of the development.
This I think is significant, if not unprecedented.
The presence of these non-committee member councillors says to me that the full council should be asked ASAP to review the decision of the development committee. Time is of the essence as comments must be in by Friday 24th.
Three people who were from the lobbying group Keep Hampshire Green talked in opposition to the proposal; and one local resident talked in favour. The latter stated there is a ‘silent majority’ in favour of the application.
A lot of discussion has taken place on the town website article and its associated WhitchurchHants Facebook posting since the committee’s decision: several facts have been brought to light which may not have been forefront of the committee’s thinking at the meeting. The point about the lost money to the town if the scheme does not go ahead, for example, was not mentioned at the meeting. Nor was there any discussion about the possible added tourism benefits that could be demanded of the scheme.
(see reply received from the Town Council, below)
Update: Added an overview documentary from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE, which is a professional organisation… IEEE: Winds of Change
Update: Reply received from the Town Council clerk on 24 May 2013 (no reply has come from any of the town councillors as of 4 June 2013):
I will forward your e-mail to the Full Council as requested. However you should be aware that the plans for the Wind Farm were available to view at the Town Hall last week, including Saturday morning, and this was advertised on the website and on the A-frame on the Town Hall forecourt. 52 people visited in total and were encouraged to make their comments to the Town and Borough Councils. Obviously we could not press people to tell us their opinions, but of those who did 13 were pro the Wind Farm and 17 against. 22 didn’t comment. Written comments, (e-mail and letter,) are so far ( and I am still receiving communications today) 13 pro and 15 against.
The two councillors, to whom you refer were already at the Town Hall to attend an earlier Leisure and Environment Committee Meeting. There was no declared significance in their presence, and it is certainly not without precedent for Councillors to attend meetings of which they are not members. All Councillors are entitled to attend and express their views on all agenda items, and these will be taken into account as will those of the general public. However, only the Committee members are eligible to vote.
I hope this clarifies the position.
Cathy Burt, Clerk to Whitchurch Town Council.”