Campaigning villagers are a step closer to victory in their battle to stop four wind turbines being built near their homes.
Planning staff at Derbyshire Dales District Council have recommended that permission for the turbines at Carsington be refused – but councillors will have the final say.
Wind farm developer West Coast Energy says the 330ft-high turbines would generate enough electricity for 5,500 homes.
But Carsington and Hopton Parish Council is fighting the scheme, fearing that the local economy and the area’s landscape would suffer.
Parish council chairman Neil Edmiston said: “We think that we have a pretty strong case.
“We have tried to present a balanced view because the council is not against the concept of wind power.
“The main objection we have is that the site is very, very close to the local community.
“We are pleased to hear of the officer’s recommendation but the hearing is still to take place.
“The community is confident the application in its present form will not go ahead. We are not against the use of renewable energy, we just feel it is an inappropriate site.”
District council planning officers say the turbines would have a harmful impact on the natural beauty of the land around Carsington and Hopton.
They claim the structures would put off walkers and horse riders from using the area.
And they say the proposal fails to take into account to the area’s archaeological interests, with one part of the site intruding upon a scheduled ancient monument – a rock formation in the shape of a chair, known locally as The Lady Chair.
The officers said that not enough work was done to establish the impact the turbines may have on protected species such as bats and great-crested newts.
Friends of the Earth said it was used to hearing about cases such as this and each one had to be looked at individually.
A spokesman said: “On the grand scale of things, four turbines is a very small wind farm.
“It would have a modest visual impact on the area which you would need to offset with the potentially devastating effects of the continued use of fossil fuels.”
Paul Wilson, a Derbyshire Dales District Council planning officer, said: “If the committee turns down the application, the developers have the right to appeal.
“This would mean a public inquiry and consideration by an inspector for the secretary of state. This whole process can take some time, maybe as long as 18 months.”
No-one at West Coast Energy was available for comment.
The council’s planning committee will make a final decision about the application on Tuesday, July 17.
By Martin Naylor
12 July 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding