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Joy for villagers as wind farm is refused

Saturday 2nd April 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)
Joy for villagers as wind farm is refused

VILLAGERS in East Staffordshire have been left jubilant after controversial and long-running plans for a giant wind farm on their doorstep were rejected at a crunch meeting.

Residents in the villages of Abbots Bromley and Marchington have had to live with the threat of the development of eight 360ft (110m) turbines and associated infrastructure at the idyllic Bagots Park site for nearly a decade since the plans were first mooted by energy company SSE Renewables, formerly Airtricity.

After years of campaigning residents faced a special meeting of the planning applications committee at East Staffordshire Borough Council.

Prior to the meeting at Burton Town Hall, planning officers had recommended to the committee that they refused the application as it would have a ‘substantial and adverse’ effect on the landscape and ‘’would result in a major loss of residential amenity to nearby properties’.

In front of dozens of interested parties in the public gallery, numerous people spoke at the meeting about their objections to the plans.

These included Abbots Bromley Parish Council chairman Roger Jarman and Marchington and Marchington Woodlands Parish Council chairman Janette Prince.

Councillor Prince said the plans would have a ‘detrimental and devastating impact’ on the lives of people in her parish and on the landscape, and said ‘this is not the legacy we wish to leave to future generations in Marchington and Marchington Woodlands’.

Councillor Jarman said the plans would cause ‘a 24-7 disturbance to all residents in our parish’ and would cause ‘a lot of permanent pain for very little gain and certainly none for the residents of Abbots Bromley’.

The applicant was represented at the meeting by Bruce Caldwell, who told the committee that issues raised by the planning officers in their report to the committee had ‘either been addressed or were in the process of being addressed’.

However, only three members of the committee voted in favour of the application and so it was refused.

Committee member John Morris said he was voting in favour of the wind farm as ‘we need more wind energy in the UK because of what has happened in Japan’, as he had previously felt nuclear energy would play a big part in the country’s future.

Burton MP Andrew Griffiths, who attended the meeting, told the Mail afterwards that he supported the decision.

He said: “I have been inundated with letters and emails from worried residents — not because they are Nimbys but because they were concerned about the health and amenity of people living there.

“We are talking about a beautiful piece of the Staffordshire landscape and it is right that the council would protect the genuine concerns of local residents.”

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