An interesting standoff has developed in Powys between the Council and the Assembly Government. I don't know how this one is going to go, but it looks very big onions to me - and high risk. Front page of this weeks County Times reports an announcement by Councillor Wynne Jones, Board member with responsibility for planning that all wind farms in Powys are going to be refused until the Assembly Government has provided the finance for a new road infrastructure capable of carrying the turbines - which seems highly unlikely.
Now, I'm rather pleased to learn of this development. But I find myself wondering whether it can possibly be true. To refuse all wind farm planning applications would be a direct challenge to the Assembly Government, and if carried out, would totally undermine it's policy of promoting onshore wind farms. It's contemptible TAN 8 policy would lie in ruins - which as it happens is the best place for it. Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire, Mick Bates, an avid enthusiast of onshore wind farms will be furious. Hundreds, if not thousands of Montgomeryshire residents who were in despair about the phillistinian desecration that was about to be visited upon their beautiful landscape will be popping champagne corks tonight. Indeed, I will take a celebratory glass or two at the Guilsfield Show Cocktail Party, for which I am now about to prepare myself.
But wait a sec.. On the other hand, if this is not true, there will be a fearsome backlash. I remember old Hubbs, my future in-laws Bassett Hound. He was as calm as you like - unless you wanted what he had. And once you'd given him something, he was vicious when you tried to take it away again. For Councillor Wynne's sake, I hope he can deliver on this promise. I would not want him to suffer the terrible consequences of 'Hubbsian Revenge'. And if the Council do refuse the 15 or so Planning applications that are in the pipeline, I hope their legal advice is strong enough to defend the Council against the inevitable appeal costs.
Now, Councillor Wynne gets a bit naggy with me sometimes - but I'm bang on his side here. I go as far as to describe him as a man of vision, in that I'd never have thought of this one myself. I don't think he would have gone out on this limb so strongly without some every careful preparation. For certain he would have had the planning officcers and Chief Executive onside. I reckon that a few more copies of my County Times are going to be revisiting this story over the next few weeks.