Minutes of the meeting of the Parish Council held at 7.00pm in Calderbridge Village Hall on 9 th December 2014.
Present: Mr R Stewart, Mr R Jones, Mr R Munro, DA Polhill (Clerk)
83/14 Apologies : Mr D Birks, Mr A Rigg, Declarations of Interest. None.
84/14 Acceptance of the last meeting minutes (11 th November 2014 ). These were approved.
85/14 Matters arising from previous meeting .
- Telephone Box. The Clerk said that he had confirmed that if the option to adopt the box was taken up BT would remove the telephone. The council felt that retention of the box was in the best interests of the community and decided not to adopt it; they would however take up the offer of BT to provide the materials and arrange for the box to be painted.
- Wind Turbines update. The Chairman outlined progress since further information had been provided by the Developer on landscaping and amenity issues and also safety/security concerns regarding the Sellafield site. A response had been sent to Copeland BC and Mr Clarkson. (A copy is attached to these minutes. It was noted from a message from the Planning Dept that Copeland BC regarded the Parish Council as a statutory consultee in planning matters. There was still doubt about when the application would be discussed by the planning committee but it was thought unlikely to be before February 2015. A notice relevant to the additional information would be produced and displayed to inform the residents.
- Sellafield meeting. Discussion centred around the problems caused by the huge number of vehicles accessing the site, an issue which concerned all the PC’s. The original Sellafield Travel Plan which had been in gestation for over two years was effectively dead in the water and the whole matter of site access was being re-examined afresh. A Board paper was being prepared and the PC’s were promised that they would be consulted at the draft stage. The opinion of the local parish councils was also sought on a current construction project due to take place at the south-east of the site, in particular the use of the Seascale to Calder road as a construction site access. The PC’s highlighted the numerous problems which needed to be addressed before they would accept this proposal. It was further emphasised that more use should be made of the railway for the delivery of construction materials.
- Meeting with NDA. After much delay and a further letter to the NDA Chief Executive this had been arranged for December 18 th.
- Meeting with ONR. Mr Jones said that he was still awaiting confirmation and would raise the matter at the next SSG meeting.
- LLWR Dog-fouling. Ongoing as a response from LLWR was awaited.
- Banking Arrangements. The Clerk said that his original intention to switch the council accounts to Natwest bank had been stymied by a subsequent Natwest decision to close the Seascale branch. He therefore intended to try and use the mobile bank (Natwest) before considering other options. The council accounts (HSBC) would be transferred to Whitehaven branch.
86/14 Parish Council Representation
a) 3-Tier meeting. Main item was a presentation from Sellafield Ltd on the Travel Plan. The site plan was being re-assessed (see item 85/14 c above) and that portion of it associated with the move of personnel to Albion Square, although not complete, was deemed to be working reasonably well.
b) Neighbourhood forum. The Clerk reported on the meeting. Main items were presentations from the Cumbria Police & Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable – probably ~ 300 police posts would be lost as a result of HMG funding cuts; and an outline of the facilities and operational arrangements for the new hospital. A critical factor was the recruitment of sufficiently qualified personnel.
c) Village Hall – Mr Jones reported that Copeland BC had as requested carried out work on the Hall shrubbery though spraying would be curtailed until the Spring. He expected an invoice shortly and suggested that funding for similar work may need to be included within the 2015-16 budget.
- Mr Birks – The Clerk referred to a note Mr Birks had sent with his apologies suggesting that due to his recent non-attendance due to work commitments he should resign. Those present felt that David’s contribution to council matters was valued and he should be encouraged to continue. The Clerk would respond accordingly.
- Notice of Hedgerow removal. Notice had been received from LDNPA that a hedge was to be removed in a field, part of Ponsonby Old Hall. It was decided that although the council supported local businesses, it was concerned about loss of habitat for wildlife, and a reason to justify the hedge removal should be given.
- Police report. There had been 10 recorded events in the period – 7 road related (RTA’s, bad driving, parked cars obstructing pavements, cows on A595); 1 Mountain Rescue; 1 weapon handed in as part of the present amnesty; and 1 incident of theft.
88/14 Finance a) Payments requested:
HMRC for PAYE £10.60 Cheque No 100468
b) Clerk’s salary and expenses. (12/11/2014 – 9/12/2014) £121.34 Cheque No 100469.
c) The Clerk tabled a paper outlining the new settlement agreed by HMG for civil servants. Clark’s salaries would increase by 2.2 % from 1 st January 2015 together with a one-off payment of £100 due in December 2014.
Balance of accounts at 20 th November 2014 :- £15270.09
Note: A discrepancy between the balance indicated on the agenda and that recorded in the minutes was resolved by The Clerk after the meeting – the minutes are correct.
d) 2015-16 budget. The Chairman said that he and The Clerk would prepare a draft budget for the January meeting.
89/14 Public Participation. There were no members of the public present.
90/14 Questions councillors may wish to raise.
Mr Jones - referred to the management plan for Calder Woodlands which had been forwarded for comment. It was agreed that the plan was sensible and would be environmentally enhancing, and the council would respond accordingly.
Mr Stewart – Had been approached by a resident about the provision of a flower tub on the land opposite the Stanley Arms. This was agreed in principle but further details of who would care for it needed to be determined.
91/14 Date of next meeting . Tuesday 13 th January 2015
PONSONBY PARISH COUNCIL
Chairman: Mr Ranald.M.R Stewart, CA Clerk: Mr DA Polhill
8, Pelham Drive, Combe End
Seascale, Cumbria, Holmrook, Cumbria,
CA20 1DB. CA19 1XG.
Tel: 01946 841717 Tel: 01946 724327
Mrs H Morrison
Head of Planning
Copeland Borough Council
Ref Planning Application No 4/14/2105/01F,
Wind Turbines, Church House Farm, Ponsonby
Dear Mrs Morrison
The Parish Council (PC) refers to its letter of objection to the above proposal of 27 th April 2014, the subsequent meeting with yourself and Mr Groves, and the site visit on 11 th June of the members of the Borough Council Planning Committee.
The Developer - Airvolution, has on request forwarded hard copies of the addendum to Chapter 15 - Safety, a letter to Copeland BC of the 15 th October, and a response from Crestwood Environmental Ltd regarding the LDNPA’s objection on landscape and visual grounds. The Developer advised that these documents were also submitted to Copeland BC to enable the council to consult with the statutory authorities. Can you please advise who the relevant statutory authorities are? Presumably Parish Councils are not as Ponsonby PC has not been contacted. The Parish Council has however advised residents that these documents can be viewed at Calderbridge Village Hall, together with the initial submission. It is unclear whether further comments are invited; perhaps you could kindly advise us, together with any proposed time-scales.
The Minister for Communities and Local Government is reported to have extended powers now to block unpopular proposals for wind turbines and take the final say away from planning inspectors. In view of the poll undertaken by the Parish Council among its residents and the overwhelming result in objections to the planning application, together with the large number of individual objections, the Parish Council submits its request that this application is treated as a most unwelcome proposal.
The statements in the addendum to Chapter 15 under ‘Potential Effects’ are vigorously contested, based upon the statistical analysis of worldwide turbine accidents over the last 10 years – ref. Caithness Windfarm Information Forum. This forum provides data on accidents broken down into categories: Fatal, Injury, Health, Blade Failure, Fire, Structural, Ice Throw, Transport, Environmental (incl. bird deaths), and Other, which suggests the impacts presented by the Developer are underestimates of those which will occur. We are therefore seriously concerned about the potential impact of broken blade fragments on populated areas of our parish. In addition we have very serious concerns in relation to Church House Farm turbines and their impact on the Sellafield site, for the reasons outlined below:
- Ponsonby Parish Council has given further consideration to the impact that siting large Turbines at Church House Farm will have on safety in our parish, in light of both further information submitted by the Developer, and also Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) comments on the proposals. We remain very firmly of the view that the impact on the safety of our parishioners is unacceptable and that therefore planning permission for their construction should not be granted.
- The additional information posted by the Developer provides little more than minor corrections to their original text and it does not address the concerns which led to our previous comments. We continue to believe that the numerical assessments of the impact on the Sellafield site provided by the Developer are inadequate in scope and contain factual inaccuracies. Since these assessments form the basis of the lack of objection of the proposal by ONR we believe their conclusion is inappropriate. We have requested a meeting with ONR to further understand their position and explain where we believe the assessments are deficient.
- In summary the Developer’s assessment shows that a blade which breaks off a turbine is too large to reach the Sellafield site and that whilst “small” (10 metre) fragments can reach the site the probability of them doing so is low and they are not of sufficient size to damage civil structures. ONR have confirmed these conclusions by independent review, the Parish Council are probably prepared to accept this position but we have asked the regulator to confirm the robustness of the older buildings on the site.
- No assessment has been carried out on the vulnerability, to damage by blade fragments, of exposed essential services on the Sellafield site (eg Steam pipework, Cooling water systems, Ventilation ducts, Inert gas supplies, Electrical and instrument cabling etc) which are crucial to sustaining nuclear safety at Sellafield. Additionally the Developer has not considered the impact radius of blade fragments smaller than 10 metres (33 FEET!) although fragments a fraction of this size are likely to have a mass and momentum capable of damaging exposed essential service systems. The analysis which the developer has carried out for full blades and fragments 10 metres or above in length could be taken to imply that large parts of the Sellafield site, including the legacy plant areas, are vulnerable to impact by fragments less than 10 metre long, noting that this gap in analysis does need to be filled to gain a complete picture.
- The Developer argues that the low probability of blade fragmentation and impact with Sellafield facilities means associated risks are acceptable. In a similar vein ONR argues that the low probability of the event means that the event consequences (which are potentially extremely serious) need not be evaluated. The Parish Council would accept this logic “in an ideal world” but not in the context of the Sellafield Site. We have been told on numerous occasions by Sellafield Ltd, NDA, the National Audit Office, The Public Accounts Committee, and ONR that the risks to the workforce and local population from a number of the older site facilities are already intolerable, and will increase even further as wastes are recovered and safely repackaged and buildings/ plants are decommissioned. It is therefore absolutely indefensible to add any unnecessary risk however small. The Turbines do not need to be built here and shouldn’t be.
- A further gap in the Developer’s analysis relates to the vulnerability of essential services to the Site located outside the Site. Cooling Water supplies, the Electrical Grid supply, and High-pressure Gas mains, are all located very close to the proposed turbines and the implications have not been evaluated, but are unacceptable to us for the reasons outlined above. Furthermore the preferred location for the National Grid replacement system for the area runs immediately adjacent to the turbines, at a proximity which the Grid providers have stated during their public consultation exercise would find unacceptable. The route of this new Grid system which is essential to the area should not be prejudiced by the erection of Turbines in this location simply for the commercial gain by the developer.
Finally we do not agree with the attempts by the Developer to refute the objections to the proposals by the LDNPA. For example it was obvious at the planning committee site visit, that there are large areas of our parish from which the Sellafield site is not visible but which would be marred and dominated by the visual appearance of the proposed turbines, to the extent that they will prevent our parishioners from enjoying their parish surroundings and amenities, and the views into the National Park from a number of directions. We also disagree with the assertion by the Developer that several key issues can be resolved after planning permission is granted. The Parish Council once more has to reiterate the unacceptable proposal that the issues we have raised both here and previously eg. Safety impacts, Transport implications, Clashes with the National Grid replacement process, Deleterious impacts on the National Park, etc are dealt with after planning consent is given.
It is requested that the Parish Council’s initial letter of objection, together with this additional response is attached to the Planning Dept’s documentation which is distributed to members of the planning committee prior to the public hearing.
Clerk – on behalf of Ponsonby Parish Council.
Date: 1 st December 2014