Monday, 8 December 2014

Funding needed to fight Llansteffan wind turbine

The row over the "Dylan Thomas Memorial Wind Turbine" near Llansteffan continues to rumble on, and local objectors have been granted leave to seek judicial review of the decision in the New Year.

As anyone who has ever been involved in a planning campaign will know, the cards are stacked against the communities and people most affected in what are often David and Goliath battles, with big business nearly always getting its way.

The British justice system is also increasingly one in which money often speaks more loudly than, well, justice itself, and judicial reviews don't come cheap. Locals in the Llansteffan and Laugharne area have therefore launched a funding appeal, with details here.

What was unusual in this case was that a majority of councillors on the planning committee went against officers' recommendations to approve the turbine, with the charge being led by Cllr Daff Davies who happens to be (incredibly) both vice chair of the planning committee and Chair of Council.

One unfortunate consequence of this debacle is that members of the planning committee are likely to become much more risk averse in future and accept the recommendations of planning officers by default, even when there are compelling reasons to go against advice.

It is not unknown for councillors, especially Independents, to go against the wishes of the communities they represent, although the Llansteffan wind turbine was one of the most flagrant examples of a county councillor ignoring local opinion and the views of his community council, to support the interests of friends and business associates instead.

Defending his actions to his local community council back in June, Cllr Davies said he had supported the application because he did not see any grounds to refuse it. He also claimed that the professional and government bodies consulted had not objected.

We have to assume that as local member and vice chair of the planning committee Daff Davies actually took time to read the planning officers' report, which set out clear reasons for refusing the application, as well as stating that an objection had been received from the National Trust, the largest landowner in the area.

While he may have brought the community council into disrepute in Llansteffan and Llanybri, according to the community councillors themselves, Daff is still happily enjoying being chauffered around and tucking into the municipal buffet in Carmarthen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He was fast asleep and snoring during the last planning committee!