A 200ft-high weather mast that could lead the way for a full wind farm is to be built at a college in Penkridge.
The controversial project was approved by the narrowest of margins at last night’s meeting, with 20 South Staffordshire councillors voting for it and 19 against.
The mast, which will measure wind speed and direction for the next two years, will spring up at Rodbaston College, in Farm Road, near to the M6.
Those against the scheme said the structure would dominate the skyline and act as a precursor for a farm made up of several turbines.
Councillor Christine Raven said: “I know the council should encourage anything green but I think this is totally inappropriate in this position, I think there are huge problems with it.
“It is 200ft high, it will be seen from a mile away. I think it will be invasive.”
Councillor Reginald Williams added: “I am very concerned about what this could lead to. This is obviously the precursor to wind turbines.”
Councillor Roger Holt said he was also concerned the mast may interfere with the microlight centre at nearby Otherton Airfield. However, the planning report stated: “It is highly unlikely there would be a conflict between light aircraft using this airfield and the mast.”
Those in favour of the scheme said it would help in the quest for environmentally-friendly energy. Councillor John Evans said: “We must consider sustainability and how to harness natural resources like wind. This will be educational and only up for two years.”
21 May 2008
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