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No wind of change as planners blast turbines

Controversial plans for giant wind turbines in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside are set to be rejected.

Energy firm Scottish Power Renewables’ proposals to build four 126m-high structures near Queniborough have been strongly opposed by people living nearby.

The residents say they will ruin the picturesque rural area.

Members of Charnwood Borough Council’s plans committee will decide whether to give permission for the project next week but planning officers have recommended they reject it.

Officials claim the turbines would be “alien man-made features” in an attractive area, would ruin the view of the spire of Queniborough’s Grade I-listed St Mary’s Church and other historic buildings, and be overbearing for people living near the site in South Croxton Road.

Villagers set up a campaign group called Scottish Power Renewables OUT (Sprout) to oppose the plan.

Group chairman Mike Jones said he was very pleased with the recommendation.

He said: “It does vindicate much of what we have been saying for the last few years. Such large wind turbines just won’t be right for this area.

“We really hope the councillors agree with what the officers have said but it’s not a foregone conclusion.

“We also expect Scottish Power will appeal against any refusal so we are in it for the long haul.”

Sprout members are to attend Thursday’s planning meeting along with Queniborough Parish Council representatives, who are also opposed to the project.

Sprout is continuing to raise funds to collect £50,000 for legal representation should the matter be taken to a planning appeal.

More than 300 letters of objection were sent to the council planners.

Some people complained the noise and light flicker from the spinning rotors would disturb them and scare horses that are frequently ridden in the area.

However, environmental health officers believe neither is a good enough reason to turn the scheme down.

Nobody from Scottish Power Renewables was available to comment but the firm says the turbines will generate 9.2 megawatts of electricity annually for the next 25 years.

It says the wind farm will contribute to the Government’s target of having 10 per cent of the East Midlands energy consumption – 175 megawatts – from renewable sources by 2020.

A council planning spokesman said: “The need to meet targets is clear and this is an important factor. But it is concluded the harm arising from this development outweighs the considerable wider public benefits.”