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People power blows away wind farm cloud  

Plans for Sheffield’s first ever wind farm on a country park have been shelved in a surprise move by the city’s new ruling Lib Dems.

The Lib Dems say plans to put turbines on Westwood Country Park have “definitely” been rejected.

Council officers had identified the site as a location for up to six 100-metre turbines.

The council had approved proposals for a feasibility study which could have seen the turbines working in around 18 months.

But local residents strongly objected saying the site – between Tankersley Park Golf Course and dozens of houses – was totally unsuitable.

The Save Westwood Country Park group, formed from around 200 protesters, said the turbines would blight the appearance of the area, be too noisy and affect house prices

The Lib Dems agreed and have told officers to find some alternative, as yet unidentified, sites.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, cabinet member for climate change and the local environment, said: “I visited the site and saw at first hand how close it is to local homes.

“I have instructed officers to go and look at alternative sites and to look at land which is privately as well as council owned.

“We are going to have a review of other preferred sites and will continue to work with local residents to develop Westwood as green space.”

The Lib Dems are believed not to have any other sites in mind so far, and have told council officers to come up with some suggestions.

Andrew Redfern, of Save Westwood Country Park Action Group, said he was “delighted” by the decision.

He said: “This reflects our passionately-held view that the choice of this much used park, which is in green belt and next to hundreds of family homes, was completely inappropriate.

“It has lifted a huge cloud that has hung over the whole area, and has lifted everyone’s spirits.”

Hillsborough MP Angela Smith added: “Westwood Park was never the right place. This was 200 to 300 metres from people’s homes.

“I am extremely pleased the council has listened to the views expressed and has responded to them.

“This is a victory for the people of High Green. They have delivered it.”

Experts say Sheffield is an ideal location for turbines as it has lots of wind coming in from the south west plus wind from the Atlantic.

The turbines would have been between 60 and 100 metres in height and would have provided enough energy to provide electricity for several thousand homes.

The Star

6 June 2008

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