MP defends 'hands-off'
NORTH Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson has defended his stance of not getting involved in planning issues after he came under fire from a group fighting plans for a windfarm at Davidstow.
Hundreds of people packed a meeting to hear views on a major windfarm development in Davidstow Woods for 16 turbines which would be 130m, or 430ft tall.
After the meeting, the Stop Davidstow Windfarm Group issued a statement, claiming it was time Mr Rogerson got involved in planning issues.
"This is a huge proposal and he should be getting very involved and representing his constituents according to their wishes," said the group's statement.
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However, Mr Rogerson said yesterday that he was not a councillor and so had no say in decisions taken by the local planning authority.
"If people feel that the council is not acting properly, or if the matter is concerning Parliament or national legislation, then, as always, I am happy to talk to people and take up their concerns.
"If I was to intervene on one planning application, regardless of my personal views, then I would rightly be expected to do so on all planning applications and would spend all my time doing the job of local councillors and working on issues over which I have no authority, instead of doing my own job."
Mr Rogerson said that Lib Dem Cornwall councillor Rob Rotchell, whose job it was to represent the area, was at the meeting to listen to local people's concerns.
"Mr Rotchell voted against this plan last time when he was a Camelford town councillor and he proposes doing so again now. My involvement, one way or the other, won't make it any more or less likely to happen as I am not a councillor.
"I am continuing to make the case for local people to have more of a say in the planning process when it comes to applications for wind turbines and have been raising concerns about the role of the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol in overturning decisions that have been made by democratically elected councillors here in Cornwall.
Community Windpower Limited previously had a bid turned down by Cornwall Council before it dropped its appeal.
More than 200 people packed the meeting at Clease Hall in Camelford, called by Davidstow Parish Council.
Richard Vyvyan-Robinson, the chairman of the Camel Valley and Bodmin Moor Protection Society, said: "Bodmin Moor is unique, with its wildness and freedom from all kinds of construction."
He said the windfarm would make a terrible visual intrusion and desecrate the landscape.
Caroline Hooper, treasurer at St Breward Parish Church, said it was important to protect a site of "international importance".
"Whatever your views are about wind turbines this is a step too far. There should be nothing on the moor and it should be protected, otherwise there's no point having an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status."