Last-minute extra information blew away protesters’ hopes of defeating a wind farm plan in Stroud.
The eleventh-hour submission about the potential noise from four green energy turbines at Stinchombe meant a decision on the controversial proposal was delayed.
Dozens of objectors to the windmills at Berkeley Road were in Stroud District Council’s chamber as the authority’s development control committee postponed its discussion until the next meeting in mid-March.
Time had to be allowed for the additional facts provided by wind farm applicants Next Generation to be considered by protesters and supporters of the scheme, the meeting heard.
“It is a very major, very significant development,” Phil Skill, head of planning told the meeting.
All facts had therefore to be properly included in his officers’ recommendation about whether or not the wind farm should be allowed, Mr Skill said.
The noise information had been received fewer than 24 hours ago, planning officer John Longmuir said.
As a result, there had not been time for the council’s environmental health officer to properly consider the submission.
A panel of committee members had recently visited the site and Councillor Dennis Andrewartha (Lib-Dem, Cam) said that inspection had been “illuminating” and “particularly with regard to the visual impact,” he said.
“This is a very divisive issue in our communities. It is important that we have all the facts available to us before we make our decision,” Mr Andrewartha said.
Next Generation has said its four, 120m-high Stinchcombe turbines would provide clean wind energy to boost government targets towards helping prevent global warming.
The windmills would not be in the official AONB – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the company said.
But hundreds of objectors, especially Stinchcombe residents, have complained the turbines would be noisy, impact on the AONB and blight the countryside.
The Save Berkeley Vale action group has been formed to oppose the wind farm and its spokesman Roger Stroud said after the scheme was deferred: “It is very strange that they came up at the eleventh hour.
“They had months to prepare these figures. I think it is a tactic,” he added.
Next Generation founder and managing director Dale Vince was pleased by the deferment.
“We’ve been working with the council to make sure they have all the information they need,” he said.
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