Resident was offered trip to lap dance club in relation to planning application, say council minutes

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The allegation emerged in minutes published on the website of Nelson Community Council near Caerphilly, Mid-Glamorgan, Wales, for a meeting last August.

In one section of the meeting, members “considered the planning applications and wider development in Llanfabon”, a village near Caerphilly.

According to the minutes, among the concerns raised by “members of the public” about planning applications in the area was that a “local resident was offered cash and a night out at a lap dancing club”.

The minutes, from a meeting on 3 August, add a series of other complaints, including one warning of an “overall catastrophic impact on Llanfabon” and the impact on wildlife and protected birds..

The minutes and meeting agenda do not specify what developments are being objected to or who the applicants are, nor who offered the resident the money and club visit.

However, one of the other concerns listed mentions “turbines” that “last for 20 years”, while another refers to “renewable energy development in Wales”, suggesting that at least one of the proposals involves wind energy.

A meeting was due to take place between one of the community councillors, two local residents and Caerphilly County Borough Council’s planning department over the concerns raised, the minutes add.

Planning has asked Nelson Community Council and its eight councillors for clarification but no response was received at the time of publication.However, national newspaper coverage reports that the resident is a farmer and the plans involve a “giant wind turbine on his land”.

The Daily Mail report goes on to claim that the firm in question is Cardiff-based Bute Energy.

In Wales, energy firms can persuade landowners to sign up to host wind turbines by offering them financial incentives.

According to the website of local planning authority, Caerphilly County Borough Council, Bute Energy has not submitted any wind turbine applications to date.

However, the firm is currently promoting the Twyn Hywel Energy Park, on a site north of the village of Senghenydd that is about 3km south of Llanfabon.

According to the project website, the park will include up to 14 wind turbines generating 92.4MW of energy and is being considered by Welsh ministers – rather than the local authority – as a development of national significance. 

The website says the scheme will “deliver significant benefits to the local community, including an annual community benefit fund in the region of £693,000 – totalling more than £30 million over the 45-year operational life of the project”.

The community council minutes, in another section after the concerns raised about planning applications in Llanfabon, state that the meeting discussed representations to government planning agency Planning and Environment Decisions Wales “in response to the Twyn Hywel Energy Park”.

It goes on to say that a meeting with Bute Energy and local Senedd member Hefin David “to discuss community benefit” took place on 7 September.

When contacted by Planning, Bute Energy strenuously denied the allegation in the Daily Mail.

A company spokesman said: “This allegation is baseless and unfounded. It should never have been published by Nelson Community Council as any form of credible or approved council minutes. Based, as it is on hearsay, gossip and innuendo, the claim is defamatory and the matter is now in the hands of our lawyers.”

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