Campaigners battling to stop four huge wind turbines ‘blighting’ the picturesque Weaver Valley near Frodsham are celebrating after Vale Royal plan-ners rejected the scheme.
An application by Tegni Cymru to site the 410ft turbines in a Green Belt area at Aston Grange Farm was recommended for approval by the borough council’s chief planning officer, Richard Ellison.
But at a special planning committee meeting, when members voted equally for and against the scheme, chairman Albert Bailey used his casting vote to reject the application.
Campaigners from the Stop Aston Windfarm group, made up of residents and parish councils in the area, addressed the committee.
Cllr Bailey said: ‘Members did not feel that the planning report demonstrated sufficiently the ‘very special circumstances’ required to enable them to move away from council policy.’
The decision will still have to be ratified by the full borough council meeting on November 30.
However, campaigners say the planning committee has dealt a ‘severe blow’ to the proposal.
Mike Cooksley, chairman of Visit Chester and Cheshire and The Weaver Valley Management, addressed the committee.
He said councillors who voted against the scheme ‘recognised that the visual impact and loss of amenity to local communities far outweighed the negligible benefits that would accrue if the scheme went ahead’.
Mr Cooksley added: ‘This is a triumph.
‘Had this development gone ahead, it would have had an enormous impact on the mouth of the River Weaver and jeopardised the likely development of the planned Weaver Valley Regional Park, which will stretch some 50km from Frodsham to Audlem to connect, transform and energise the Weaver Valley, capturing the unique spaces and places to drive forward an economic, environmental and social transformation.
Borough councillor Anne Hooker warned: ‘It’s not over yet.
‘ It was a close thing and I suspect the developer may well want to appeal which will mean a public inquiry.’
By June Withenshaw, Runcorn Weekly News
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