A PROTEST in Swadlincote has been hailed as a victory after plans for a 112ft (34.2m) high wind turbine were thrown out by councillors.
Members of South Derbyshire District Council’s planning committee overturned planning officers’ recommendation and unanimously refused plans to build the turbine at Hilltop Farm in Ashby Road, Woodville.
Residents of Woodville and nearby Hartshorne held a celebratory protest outside the council offices, in Civic Way, Swadlincote, after the refusal.
The applicant said the turbine would achieve long term stability and break away from rising energy costs, but Hartshorne Parish Council objected strongly over noise issues and the turbine’s close proximity to housing estates, and another 19 objections were submitted from nearby homes.
Planning officers said the proposal made a case for renewable energy and potential noise would not cause a nuisance.
However, Peter Smith, a member of Hartshorne Parish Council and ward member for Repton, disputed this, saying: “This would absolutely shatter the peace and quiet of what is a tranquil place.
“I can hear the sound of wind turbines from my motorbike with earphones in.” Both Kevin Richards and Martyn Ford said other wind turbines in Etwall had been successful because they were camouflaged by motorway traffic.
The district council planning department said the committee should not refuse the plans on the basis of noise nuisance as there was no evidence to support it which counld be successfully argued to fight any potential appeal.
It was agreed to refuse it on the basis of visual amenity, with nearby resident, Terry Coulden, saying: “I take strong objection to the claim that this turbine would only be visible to 10 homes— it would be visible to 400 homes and would dominate the landscape and skyline.”
Councillor Peter Watson said: “I drove past the Goseley Estate and Manchester Lane and this is the first time I have seen that countryside.
“I was staggered at how beautiful it was.
It isn’t spoilt by pylons and we should do everything we can to maintain it.” Councillor Richards also said: “The size and nature of it would be a blot on the landscape. It is a beautiful piece of English countryside and it is something we should be proud of.”
The visual impact was also a cause of concern for Steve Taylor, who represents Woodville, saying: “I have no objection to wind turbines, but that would be on the basis of them being in appropriate places.
“Anyone who was on the site would say that that is not an appropriate place.
“I was stunned at the size of the wind turbine. It would clearly be a significant impact on the countryside.”
Councillor Trevor Southerd added that refusing it based on its visual impact should be successful at appeal, saying: “The recent phone mast for Church Gresley was dismissed at appeal because it was visually intrusive. Had that gone ahead it would benefit people with mobile phones. This won’t benefit anyone.”
Peter Stevenson, of Hilltop Farm, declined to comment on the refusal saying he ‘wasn’t bothered’ that it had been thrown out because it was not his application.