March 16, 2011

Planning officials say turn down wind farm

By James Brindle, Uttoxeter Advertiser, 16 March 2011

Campaigners against proposals for a huge wind farm overlooking two historic villages have been boosted ahead of a crunch meeting later this month after the plans were recommended for refusal.

The long-running plans for eight 110 metre high wind turbines at Bagots Park near Abbots Bromley and Marchington are to be considered by planning chiefs at a special meeting on Thursday, March 31 at Burton Town Hall.

Ahead of that meeting, finally scheduled years after the plans were first mooted by energy firm SSE Renewables, planning officers have recommended to planners in their report that the plans be refused.

Numerous reasons have been given by the officers in East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning department for recommending the plans be thrown out.

Case officer Jonathan Imber said: “It is concluded that the significance of the effect of the proposal upon this landscape is substantial and adverse.

“In terms of appearance in this setting the turbines would be seen as large, alien features in their surroundings.” The report goes on to say that the proposal ‘would result in a major loss of residential amenity to nearby properties’.

Mr Imber also said that insufficient information has been submitted to demonstrate that the proposal ‘would not cause unacceptable harm to sites of special scientific interest, in particular Goat Lodge heronry’ and also to adequately demonstrate that the proposed turbines preserve the setting of the Grade II listed Park Lodge.

The report also reveals the widespread and fierce objections that have been received to the wind farm plans from various bodies.

These include The National Trust, which is concerned that the plans will have a detrimental impact upon the character and setting of Sudbury Hall, the RSPB and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust with regards to effects on Goat Lodge, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Natural England.

Also objecting is Marchington Parish Council on a variety of grounds including visual impact, noise levels and proximity to buildings, Abbots Bromley Parish Council on similar grounds, Draycott-in-the-Clay Parish Council, Kingstone Parish Council and Hoar Cross Parish Council.

Due to the importance of the plans they will be decided on at a special planning applications committee meeting at Burton Town Hall at 4pm on Thursday, March 31.

Chairman of the committee Councillor David Brookes said: “In view of the scale of interest in this proposal we have decided to hold a special meeting to deal solely with this application and have changed our normal starting time to allow as many local residents and other interested parties to attend as possible.

“I hope the communities of Abbots Bromley, Marchington Woodlands, Kingstone and other neighbouring areas will take the opportunity to attend and observe how we deal with this application.”

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