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Luxulyan dismay at turbine decision leads to no confidence vote in councillor Simon Rix

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 27, 2014

Luxulyan dismay at turbine decision leads to no confidence vote in councillor Simon Rix
Comments (9)

PARISH council chiefs in Luxulyan have brought a vote of no confidence against their Cornwall councillor, saying they have "lost faith in him completely".

The parish council hit out after Simon Rix, Cornwall Council member for Bugle, granted a planning officer delegated power to approve an application for a 78-metre high wind turbine.

But Mr Rix has said he has done nothing wrong and is answerable to the electorate – not the parish council – and it's a shame its "misunderstanding of the rules" has turned personal.

Luxulyan Parish Council has already fired off letters to Cornwall Council's leader John Pollard, South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray and Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.

Parish council chairman Chris Austin said: "We asked him to ensure that the application went to [Cornwall Council's] strategic planning committee for decision; it should not have been delegated.

"He was well aware of our view. We feel the application is totally wrong and he chose to ignore that fact and he didn't come back to the parish council and say that his view was the opposite and I find that reprehensible."

He added they were "very, very disappointed" Mr Rix had not allowed it to go to the strategic planning committee; following advice from the planning officer that all issues had been addressed in the report, especially when a similar application in the parish had been before the committee and refused and is currently going through the appeal process.

The parish council took the unanimous vote at an extra-ordinary meeting on December 30.

Mr Austin said: "This parish has done enough for environmental change. We have generated enough electricity in this parish for a parish twice our size."

He continued: "We have lost faith in him completely. He has taken away our democratic right, while both the Energy Minister Mr Barker and Mr Pickles champion that local communities should be listened to and taken into account."

Mr Rix, who is standing to be the next MP for Truro and Falmouth for the Lib Dems, said he had been working "very constructively" with the parish council until it "somewhat overreacted".

He said: "They appear to think they can instruct me to do certain things, but that is not the case. I am not answerable to them. I am answerable to my electorate, most of whom do not share the parish council's anti-renewables views. Opinion polls regularly show that more than 65 per cent of people support green wind power, even sited near them.

"The parish council may represent the views of a vocal minority, but in the end the primary authority in the county is Cornwall Council, which must follow the legally enforceable planning rules."

He added that the parish council had expressed its views on the planning application numerous times and he had kept it informed at every stage.

"Their problem stems from a lack of understanding both about their role in the planning process and the relationship between themselves and me as a Cornwall councillor," he said.

Mr Rix added they are consulted but ultimately it was Cornwall Council that decides.

"Similarly they can express their views to me about what they would like to be discussed at planning committee, but in the end such matters are not for them to decide," he said.

"It's a shame the parish council has tried to turn its misunderstandings about the rules into something personal against me."

The parish council is now considering seeking advice after receiving a response from Mr Pollard, the council's leader, said the chairman.

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9 comments

  • PAWB46  |  January 30 2014, 3:07PM

    Mr Rix is not fit to run the proverbial in a brewery. Heaven help the people of Truro and Falmouth if he ever became their MP.

    Rate   2
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  • letigre  |  January 28 2014, 12:43PM

    and what are the ACTUAL stats for this particular application? Rather than quoting some bunk group stat from the "department for turbines are great and don't devalue properties, kill birds etc etc"

    Rate   5
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  • Chris_Worboys  |  January 27 2014, 10:56PM

    I totally support wind energy in Cornwall and would happily live near a wind turbine. To me, and no doubt many others, they represent a sign of progress - we all need energy and I think it is great that we can generate electricity locally from sustainable sources. We should be proud of this. Onshore wind is one of the cheapest renewable energy technologies available to the UK and it's either that or coal, gas, oil or nuclear which all have arguably greater impacts on the environment and our health, and also happen to be subsidised, but in less visible ways. I think it's also worth remembering that wind turbines are not necessarily permanent features - they can be removed leaving relatively little impact on the landscape. It would be great if we could see more community ownership of wind turbines, as has been the case in Europe, where people who live near them are able to receive more of the benefits by directly investing in the projects.

    Rate   -14
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  • JeremyBadger  |  January 27 2014, 4:22PM

    ......"The parish council is now considering seeking advice after receiving a response from Mr Pollard, the council's leader, said the chairman."......... More expense for the parishioners brought on by this group of clowns who represent no-one but themselves.

    Rate   18
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  • break  |  January 27 2014, 3:20PM

    How stupid is it anyway,to give one man so much power,over something that needs careful consideration.

    Rate   3
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  • wringer  |  January 27 2014, 2:09PM

    its like the survey where people are asked would they pay more taxes if it went to hospitals and of course everyone says yes. but, when it comes to doing this people don't want to do they. with green energy people say they think its good because they think that's the right thing to say plus if they have never had one near them they don't really know the effect do they.

    Rate   5
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  • TWINSCREW  |  January 27 2014, 2:07PM

    " Opinion polls regularly show that more than 65 per cent of people support green wind power, even sited near them" On what basis does he claim this figure? He says the Parish Council represent the view of a vocal minority, but these people are elected to office the same as him and their views must be listened to just as much as his.

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  • cornwall999  |  January 27 2014, 1:52PM

    Please no more wind turbines in Cornwall. Shirley Sweeney

    Rate   -1
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  • wringer  |  January 27 2014, 11:22AM

    sorry, but isn't his parish council made up also of his electorate? Misunderstanding about the rules? more like the Parish council for mistaking this man for someone who was competent. wouldn't it have been good manners knowing how the Parish council felt to go back to them and tell them what you were going to do. people connect with their parish councillors they wouldn't have made this decision up in their own heads they would have listened to people. another example of the dash for cash with greed energy as things have to be up and running by 31st March before tariffs change. shame on you Cllr Rix. if you are so certain you are right stand down and let the electorate decide. after all it is they that will have to look at this monstrosity.

    Rate   4
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