Shailesh Vara calls for more time to consult on Hamerton Zoo Park wind turbine appeal

Shailesh Vara
Shailesh Vara
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Shailesh Vara MP is calling for more public consultation time after Hamerton Zoo Park appealed a decision to not allow it to build two further wind turbines.

Mr Vara, the MP for North West Cambridgeshire, has written to Simon Ridley, the chief executive of the planning inspectorate, following an appeal by Hamerton to the secretary of state at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Mr Vara is concerned that the time period for members of the public to make their submissions (five weeks from July 24) is during the peak holiday season and he has asked for an extension to this timeframe.

Moreover, Mr Vara has made clear that although the consultation period commenced on July 24, local residents only received notification of this on August 5, nearly two weeks into the consultation period.

The appeal by Hamerton follows a decision by Huntingdonshire District Council to turn down an application for two 50kW turbines with a hub height of 36.4m and height to the tip of 46m.

Mr Vara said: “This application is hugely unpopular locally and the original application was rightly turned down by Huntingdonshire District Council.

“Hamerton Zoo Park is entitled to make an appeal but in the interests of fairness, members of the public should have a proper opportunity to make their submissions and to be told they have a five week period to do so during the peak holiday season is simply not right.

“Nor is it right that residents were informed of the consultation nearly two weeks after the consultation period had started. I hope common sense will prevail and there will be a suitable additional period allowed for the public to make their views known.”

Fiona Anderson, chairman of Hamerton & Steeple Gidding Parish Council added: “The parish has made its views very clear about this proposed development and is sure that Huntingdonshire District Council’s decision to reject the original application was the right one.

“This small village is in a peaceful and beautiful part of the Northern Wolds with rare species, including Red Kites, two listed churches and a medieval settlement and views are already dominated by the Woolley Hill turbines as well as the existing ones at the zoo.

“HDC turned down the application as they recognised their cumulative impact on the landscape and the lack of a full ecological assessment for the site. We hope the secretary of state will respect the views of local people.’