Wit­ness call af­ter cy­clist badly hurt

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page -

WEST Lan­cashire MP Rosie Cooper has raised “se­ri­ous con­cerns” over plans to build a so­lar farm on a for­mer WWI war horse de­pot in West Lan­cashire.

The move comes af­ter Light­source BP re­vealed plans to build on land off Hall Lane, Lathom, ear­lier this year.

The de­vel­op­ment would be used to help power op­er­a­tions at NSG Group’s Euro­pean Tech­ni­cal Cen­tre, also in Lathom, and is ex­pected to cover 30% of its en­ergy needs.

A plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion has been submitted to West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil, and a de­ci­sion has not yet been made.

In re­sponse, Ms Cooper has raised “se­ri­ous con­cerns” over the plans, af­ter claim­ing she has been con­tacted by “many un­happy res­i­dents”.

Some res­i­dents raised the is­sue of not be­ing for­mally no­ti­fied by ei­ther West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil or NSG about the de­vel­op­ment.

Other com­plaints re­garded the fact that non-lo­cal NSG plant em­ploy­ees have submitted sup­port for the plans.

The most con­tro­ver­sal el­e­ment, how­ever, has been that the ap­pli­ca­tion seeks ap­proval to build upon land that Lathom Her­itage Res­i­dents Group be­lieves con­tains the graves of war horses from WWI.

But, Light­source said that the firm “ap­pre­ci­ates the im­por­tant her­itage” of the site and has com­mis­sioned two land sur­veys, which “found no ev­i­dence of horse buri­als within the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment site.”

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing many com­plaints from res­i­dents, the MP vis­ited the site to bet­ter un­der­stand the “phys­i­cal and vis­ual im­pacts” the so­lar farm would have on the area.

She said: “There is clearly se­ri­ous con­cern and op­po­si­tion to this ap­pli­ca­tion from the lo­cal com­mu­nity, who feel they haven’t been af­forded an ad­e­quate op­por­tu­nity to raise their con­cerns over the ap­pli­ca­tion as it stands. It ap­pears the coun­cil have un­der­taken their no­ti­fi­ca­tion of neigh­bours process, but only reached six prop­er­ties, in­clud­ing one which is aban­doned, one busi­ness, and one prop­erty rented by the ap­pli­cant them­selves.

“Res­i­dents are also up­set about the sen­si­tiv­ity of in­stalling so­lar pan­els on land where it is be­lieved there are graves of war horses, in this, the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of WWI.

“I have writ­ten to the plan­ning di­rec­tor at West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil to raise these con­cerns and en­sure they are fully ad­dressed be­fore any ap­pli­ca­tion can be con­sid­ered.”

Ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion, the pro­posed in­stal­la­tion would have an out­put power ca­pac­ity of 2.5mW peak – enough to power the equiv­a­lent of 720 homes.

Un­der the pro­posal, the so­lar farm would re­main in use for 30 years, with the land then re­stored to its for­mer con­di­tion.

A spokesper­son for Light­source BP said: “We are com­mit­ted to en­gag­ing with lo­cal res­i­dents on all ap­pli­ca­tions. We have con­sulted widely with the com­mu­nity about our pro­pos­als for this site, in­clud­ing writ­ing to 720 res­i­dents within a 2km ra­dius of the site and hold­ing an in­for­ma­tion event.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of the feed­back has been sup­port­ive of our pro­posal.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the im­por­tant her­itage of Lathom House. As part of the thor­ough as­sess­ment process her­itage ex­perts un­der­took a geo­phys­i­cal sur­vey.

“This found no ev­i­dence of horse buri­als within the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment site.

“We will con­tinue to en­sure that mem­bers of the public as well as the lo­cal MP and coun­cil­lors have the op­por­tu­nity to share their views.”

West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil has been ap­proached for com­ment. PO­LICE are ap­peal­ing for wit­nesses af­ter a cy­clist suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries on the A570 Rain­ford by­pass.

The bike was in­volved in a col­li­sion with a Volvo V50, which had pulled to a stop by the side of the road, at around 11 am on Thurs­day, May 25.

Be­fore the in­ci­dent, the Volvo and the bi­cy­cle had been trav­el­ling in the same di­rec­tion, to­wards the M58.

The cy­clist suf­fered face and spinal in­juries and was taken to Ain­tree Hos­pi­tal, where he re­mained in a se­ri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tion.

The road was closed for three and a half hours while in­ves­ti­ga­tions took place.

Sgt Lee Har­ris, of Lan­cashire Con­stab­u­lary road polic­ing unit, said: “We are ask­ing for any­one who wit­nessed the ac­ci­dent, or who may have dash­cam footage to con­tact us as we con­tinue to in­ves­ti­gate this col­li­sion.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is asked to call 101 quot­ing log ref 0522 of May 24.

Rosie Cooper MP with res­i­dents and mem­bers from Lathom Her­itage Res­i­dents Group on land off Hall Lane, in Lathom, below

The ac­ci­dent oc­curred on the A570 Rain­ford By­pass

Cav­alry at the WWI re­mount de­pot

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