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Blow for ASDA as turbine is refused  

Supermarket giant ASDA has been told it cannot build a wind turbine the size of Northampton’s lift tower at a warehouse after residents raised concerns about the scheme’s safety.

The firm applied to the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation to build a 417ft turbine in the car park of its distribution centre in Brackmills.

It said the £2m structure would generate enough electricity to power 1,250 homes and prevent the release of 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

But members of the WNDC’s planning committee agreed it would not be safe for workers at the firm’s depot to have a turbine nearby.

The committee made their decision after hearing protests from angry residents and Brian Skidwell, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), who said he was afraid the turbine could one day break.

He said: “My greatest concern is public safety. Turbine accidents are becoming more and more common and ones of this size are normally put in remote locations where an accident is unlikely to harm people.

“An accident on this site however, would have dire consequences.”

He was backed by Great Houghton resident Martin Plant, who argued the turbine would also be a blot on the landscape.

He said: “This turbine will be a huge structure. It’s like a jumbo jet rotating on the end of a pole and it will utterly dominate the town for years to come.”

But ASDA’s Mark Hawkin said steps could be taken to make sure the turbine was safe.

He said he was also happy with his employees working under it, adding: “This turbine would be an iconic statement of Northampton’s willingness to tackle a global problem.

“And people can work underneath one of these turbines, I’ve no issue with that at all, nor has ASDA.”

But his argument was not accepted by planning committee members who voted three to one to refuse the plan.

Committee member, Councillor Penny Flavell (Con, St Crispin) said: “All along I’ve had great concerns about this. Yes, we do have to consider the planet, but in my opinion this is going a step too far.

“I think saving energy is being put before the safety of residents.”

The committee’s decision to block the development will be ratified at its next meeting on September 2.

Northampton Chronicle & Echo

30 July 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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