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Relief for Leicestershire villagers as wind farm bid refused

Campaigners in Leicestershire say they are relieved that plans for four wind turbines near their homes have been thrown out.

Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) wanted to build the 126m-high structures in the countryside near Queniborough.

Villagers and politicians argued the proposed site, off Ridgemere Lane, was the wrong place for such a large-scale development, which would be visible from about four miles away.

Last night, members of Charnwood Borough Council’s plans committee agreed with the objectors and voted 11 to one to reject the scheme.

SPR said the turbines would generate 9.2 megawatts of electricity a year and prevent 216,000 tonnes of carbon being emitted over their 25-year lifespan.

The councillors, however, accepted the advice of officers who said the turbines would be visually intrusive in an area of attractive countryside and dominate the views of historic buildings, such as Queniborough’s medieval St Mary’s Church.

Mike Jones, chairman of campaign group Scottish Power Renewables Out, told the councillors: “The majority of the people of Queniborough are against this application.

“The site lies within a particularly attractive part of rural Leicestershire.

“The huge turbines would be grotesque alien features.

“The applicant is a large, powerful, multi-national company with massive resources.

“We are a small village. We are looking to you for protection. We need your help.”

After the meeting, Mr Jones said: “We are relieved we got the decision and we are very grateful to the councillors.

“Of course, we know this isn’t over. We fully expect Scottish Power Renewables to appeal.

“It has the budget and no reason not to appeal.

“We are already planning the next stage of the campaign.”

SPR senior project manager Vicky Turkington said there was an urgent need for renewable electricity sources.

She said: “We believe Queniborough is a great site for a wind farm.

“We believe the reasons for refusal are flawed.”

Committee member Councillor Brenda Seaton, who supported the scheme, said: “Everybody here agreed we should have renewable energy but it seems to be very much nimbyism.

“I admit I would not like it in my village but we have to start somewhere.”

After the hearing, an SPR spokesman said the firm would consider the reasons why the scheme was rejected before deciding whether to appeal.