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Wind farm plan whips up a storm of protest  

When Fatima Hamioni and Gary Colclough built their dream home from scratch, they made sure its stunning view of the countryside was its main feature.But now a wind farm could be built on neighbouring land, ruining their rural outlook.

The couple had been hoping to sell their home in Knighton, on the Shropshire-Staffordshire border, for £395,000 so they could move to Alsager.

But the week they put the three-bedroom property on the market, they discovered Nuon Renewables was thinking of erecting nine 100m tall turbines nearby.

The couple spoke out after around 120 people braved the wind and rain to attend a public meeting on the issue at Knighton Village Hall.

Ms Hamioni, aged 36, said: “No-one in their right mind will want to pay £395,000 knowing there is a possibility of a wind farm. You are buying the view.

“We had two local people interested in buying the house but they have pulled out until this is sorted out.

“We can’t do anything. Even if a buyer came through an estate agent, we are duty bound to tell them what is happening.

“We are now thinking of taking it off the market as we wouldn’t want to mislead any buyers.”

A planning application has been submitted to North Shropshire District Council to erect a temporary mast to measure wind speed just 1km from the couple’s house.

If the wind farm goes ahead, some of the turbines will be even closer to their property.

Ms Hamioni said the house was designed so all the windows faced the fields where the wind farm is now planned.

She said: “The way we have designed our property was to forget about the road. The sunset is the best you are likely to see.

“To see it broken by wind turbines will be heartbreaking.

“If we end up being sandwiched by the noise of the road on one side and the noise of the turbines on the other side, it really defeats the object of wanting to live in a rural location.”

Ms Hamioni, who is due to give birth to her second child on Christmas Day, wept when she told Sentinel Sunday of the stress the proposal was putting her family under.

She said her partner, Gary, a 41-year-old builder, was spending much of his free time trying to find out more about the plans and how it will affect them.

She said: “It is not fair on us. It is not what should be our priority at this time.

“On Thursday our five-year-old son Larson didn’t want to go to bed until his dad came home, but he was at a public meeting about the wind farm until late. The wind farm is already affecting our quality time before it is even here.”

Villagers voted unanimously against the renewable energy project after a tense question and answer session with representatives from Nuon Renewables, Graham Davey and Al Hanaghan, on Thursday.

The company made it clear that no firm plans had yet been drawn up for the site as it was still assessing whether the scheme was viable.

Mr Davey, who is the development manager for the project, said Nuon Renewables would not go ahead with the scheme if it was found the turbines would cause too much noise.

Residents also have concerns about the effects the turbines would have on health, and increased traffic during the construction phase of the site.

Mr Davey said: “Personally I believe wind energy has real merit as part of a solution to our energy needs.

“We don’t choose whether it is built, we supply information to support our application.

“If it gets turned down, because it isn’t considered to be suitable, then so be it.”

Anthony Ward, of Bearstone Farm, Bearstone, said residents had good cause to oppose the wind farm.

He said: “We really don’t want the impact on the tranquility of the area. We live here because we like living here because it is a wonderful part of the world.

“No matter how much one beefs up the agenda about how much you will not notice them, we will notice them forever.

“We will never be able to look out at this wonderful countryside without seeing these monstrosities. We just don’t want them here.”

If the wind farm goes ahead, each 2MW turbine, which will measure 65 metres with 35 metre blades on top, will be capable of producing enough energy for more than 1,000 homes.

Mr Davey revealed the farmers who allow these turbines to be erected on their land will receive between £8,000 and £12,000 a year in rent for each machine.

Villager Diane Kilgariff said: “There are going to be some very happy farmers around Knighton.

“They should stand up and be counted.”

thisisstaffordshire.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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