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Turbine campaigners in Northampton win temporary reprieve  

Campaigners fighting plans to build a massive wind turbine on the edge of Northampton have won a temporary reprieve.

Supermarket giant Asda has applied to build a 417ft turbine in the car park of its distribution centre in Brackmills.

The company has said the £2 million turbine would generate enough electricity to power 1,250 homes and prevent the release of more than 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

But people living in nearby Great Houghton have argued the structure, which would be the same height as the Express Lift Tower, would be a blot on the landscape.

And last night, their campaign was given a boost when a public footpath, which the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) had been unaware of, was discovered close to the proposed turbine site.

After being told about the path’s existence by members of the public, the WNDC’s planning committee refused to make a decision on the scheme until the turbine’s impact on those using the route had been investigated.

The chairman of Great Houghton Parish Council, Tony Skirrow, welcomed the delay.

He said: “I don’t honestly know what will happen now, but we’re very pleased it’s been delayed.”

Earlier in the evening, objectors had told members of the WNDC the turbine would have a serious impact on the area.

Councillor Michael Hill (Con, Nene Valley) said: “If this was approved it would alter the whole town for the next 50 years. It’s a building the same height as the lift tower and it’s extremely unusual, if not unique, to allow a wind turbine of that size to be built in an urban area.”

The committee was told 111 letters of objection had been received about the plans compared to none in favour.

But Mark Hawkin, from Asda, said many people’s concerns were unfounded. He said: “The bulk of concerns aren’t valid. There are a lot of rumours and a lot of myths around turbines.”

He also said the company would work to screen the turbine, but added much of the structure would not be seen as it would be built in a dip.
He also added the turbine could be used as an educational tool for nearby schools and colleges.

The WNDC will make a decision on the scheme later in the year.

Northampton Chronicle and Echo

4 June 2008

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