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D-day on a windfarm causing storm in Vale

The fate of a controversial windfarm in a village near Evesham will be decided next Thursday with Wychavon planning officers recommending refusal.

The proposed Scottish Power Renewables project will be determined at a special planning meeting at the Civic Centre in Pershore at 2pm.

The energy giant wants to put up five 2.3 mega watt wind turbines, measuring 80metres from ground to hub on land east of Bishampton Bank, in Sheriffs Lench.

Wychavon revealed the reasons for it recommending refusal were related to landscape, noise, residential amenities and highways matters.

The council argued the turbines would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the character of the landscape, it would expose nearby residences to excessive and unreasonable levels of noise, it would create an overly imposing and oppressive visual effect, and the construction traffic would impact on the on the maintenance of the existing highway.

MP Karen Lumley said she was “in favour of renewable energy but obviously in an appropriate location which I do not feel this site is.”

Protest group Vale Villagers Against Scottish Power (VVASP) has also welcomed the council’s recommendations.

Chairman Rod Stroud said: “VVASP are very encouraged by the planning officer’s report which recommends refusal.

“The report, informed by advice from independent consultants commissioned by Wychavon District Council, vindicates the longstanding concerns over the proposal from a large number of the local community – 739 letters of objection with only 37 in favour.”

The pro-windfarm group Back Local Windfarms (BLoW) has responded by claiming an appeal will “make mincemeat” of the council’s recommendations, and pointed out that in 2008 Worcestershire County Council found that Church Lench was ideally suited to a windfarm of six large turbines.

A spokesman said: “We call on Wychavon councillors to reject the planning officer’s recommendations. The advice on which they are based is poor and a great deal of public expense can be avoided if common sense prevails.”

Derek Christie, spokesman for Scottish Power Renewables, said: “We are now looking forward to the planning committee next week.”

Next Thursday’s meeting will begin at 2pm.