Controversial plans to build a massive wind turbine on the outskirts of Northampton look set to be backed by councillors.
Supermarket giant Asda wants to build the 417ft tall unit to power its distribution depot at Brackmills.
Plans for the turbine, which would be the same height as the Express Lift Tower, have been met with opposition from people living nearby.
But the scheme is expected to be backed by members of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee next week.
In a report on the turbine, borough council planning officer, Ben Clarke, said: “The proposed wind turbine would detrimentally impact on the character of this area.
“However, it is considered the benefits of the proposal, in terms of a contribution towards the provision of renewable energy, outweigh this consideration.”
The planning expert has also suggested West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC), which will make a final decision on the turbine plan, could insist plants are used to screen the giant structure.
He said: “It is considered that the prominent nature of the wind turbine would detrimentally impact on the visual amenity of this space. However, the WNDC may consider the possibility of strategic planting in certain view points to reduce the impact.”
The suggestion has been laughed-off by residents who oppose the turbine plan.
The chairman of Great Houghton Parish Council, Tony Skirrow, said: “Maybe if they got some giant redwoods and left them for 200 years they’d be all right. I’m just very disappointed at the council’s wishy-washy reaction to this.
“One of Great Houghton’s oldest buildings is in the direct line of sight of the proposed turbine. Ironically, the owners have recently been refused planning permission to install solar heating on the grounds it is not in keeping with the building.”
Asda has said the turbine would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1,250 homes and prevent the release of more than 5,000 tonnes of CO2. The location was chosen to minimise the visual impact of the structure.
The borough council’s planning committee will consider the plans next week, but the WNDC will make a final decision on the scheme later in the year.
9 February 2008
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