Following our exclusive report last night into confusion amongst councillors about whether Ipswich Borough Council had or hadn’t sought legal advice on the financial consequences of breaking a contract with wind farm developer Partnership for Renewables, Cllr Nadia Cenci has confirmed that she was aware IBC weren’t looking for legal opinions.
She told Ipswich Spy: “I asked Cllr Ellesmere if we had sought external legal advice regarding withdrawing from the options contract that was signed, as I believe that internal legal advice would err on the side of being very cautious, just to see if we had more choices on what actions we might be able to take and to see if we were happy to swallow any costs this might bring.
“I was told that this would not happen as external legal advice would be too costly and it would tell us what we already know.”
If an opposition councillor was aware that legal advice hadn’t been obtained, why did Labour councillors think it had?
Cllr Cenci now believes the best way she can represent residents of Stoke Park, where she is one of three elected Borough Councillors, is to “give up on trying to ask the current administration at IBC to assist and instead turn our attentions to the planning authority, Babergh.”
The Labour councillors who represent wards in South West Ipswich appear to have gone to ground, with only Cllr Glen Chisholm prepared to give his personal opinion on wind turbines.
County Councillor Peter Gardiner, who is also a Gipping Ward Borough Councillor, chairs the South West Area Committee and has been present for two presentations by Partnership for Renewables and one presentation by Stop Ipswich Turbines. Yet he is one of six Labour councillors who represent either Stoke Park ward, Sprites ward or Chantry division, and he is yet to nail his colours to the mast, at least in public.
Cllr Gardiner’s near neighbour, Cllr Barry Studd, has said in comments here on Ipswich Spy that he will be representing the views of the residents of Stoke Park to Babergh District Council when a planning application is made.
Cllr Roger Fern, who lives in Belmont Road, Cllr Hamil Clarke lives in Eccles Road and Cllr Dick Kirby who lives in Ramsey Close all have a direct link to the affected area, yet none have yet made a public statement either for or against the proposals.
Also strangely silent is County Councillor Paul West, who appears happy for fellow Tory Nadia Cenci to do all the running on the issue of wind turbines.
Cllr Cenci has been delivering a survey in the South West of town, along with Ipswich MP Ben Gummer. She told us:
“Along with Ben Gummer MP we have sent out a survey to the residents of SW Ipswich (Ben is legally not able to either support or be against this project as it does not fall into his constituency) that will either be affected visually, by noise or flicker or any combination of those. We included questions about what people might want to see in the future regarding energy and sustainability.
“We have received a brilliant response back and are in the process of collating all the surveys for submitting and publishing. It is also a good way to communicate back to Westminster what we would like to see happen in general terms about the various options of generating energy.
“But I can say now that those that returned their surveys directly to me are 98% against the Thorington windfarm with only 2% for. I have still to see those that were returned directly to Ben, but suspect it will be similar.
“This project is not wanted here for the simple reason that it is too close to homes and I will continue to do all that I can, alongside SIT, to help the residents get their wish.”