Villagers have slammed controversial plans to build a £2.4 million wind farm in East Staffordshire.
Around 30 Abbots Bromley residents attended a village hall meeting to decide whether they wanted to support or oppose proposals by natural energy firm Airtricity to build eight 300ft industrial wind turbines at Bagots Park, north of the village.
The meeting was also attended by Abbots Bromley Parish Council members and East Staffordshire Borough Council leader Alex Fox, who lives near the proposed site and who represents the Bagots ward.
Members of the public were also asked for their views at the meeting.
One issue raised by villagers was the potential impact on 132 families living within a two-kilometre radius of the proposed wind farm.
Some claimed that the value of their homes would be ‘dramatically’ reduced due to the visual impact and others said the development could adversely affect nearby tourist attractions such as Sudbury Hall and Tutbury Castle.
Councillor Fox said he believed the wind farm would be built within the habitat of herons nesting in the area, threatening the species and having a detrimental effect on the ‘treasure trove’ of wildlife in the nearby countryside.
He said afterwards: “It was an excellent meeting, very well thought-out and debated by all those who attended and contributed.
“A survey sent to 600 homes in Abbots Bromley came back with replies showing 81 residents against the wind farm and 71 deciding they were for, mainly because they believed it to be a forgone conclusion.
“It will have a significant impact on the countryside because digging eight holes in the ground and filling them with 1,000 tonnes of concrete will affect the area.”
The parish council has delivered a newsletter and questionnaire to every household and held an open morning to give residents an opportunity to view plans.
Parish clerk Sue Buxton said the council, which is opposing the plans, questioned the overall benefit to the village in terms of finance and job creation.
The council accepted the need for alternative methods of energy production and renewable energy, she said, but felt that Bagot’s Park did not meet many of the required criteria for wind farm locations as accepted by the wind farm industry.
No-one at Airtricity was available for comment, but the firm has previously defended its plans on the grounds that developing sustainable power was vital to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning applications committee is expected to make a decision by the end of May.
By Helen Kreft
28 February 2008
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