Campaigners spoke of their delight today after councillors rejected controversial plans for a wind farm that they claimed would blight the South Staffordshire countryside.
Councillors took the unusual step of praising protesters who fought proposals for six 413ft high turbines on the Bradford Estate near Weston Park.
More than 50 people from the Stop Turbines Action Group (STAG) toasted last night’s victory before immediately steeling themselves for another battle should developer Wind Prospect launch an appeal to the Secretary of State.
Chairman of the group Tony Lendon said: “The council was absolutely brilliant – I have never heard such a comprehensive rebuttal in all my life.
“But we are ready for whatever they will throw at us, and the only thing they can do is go to appeal.
“They are like a dog with a bone but we have got hold of the other end of it and we are not going to let go.
“We had to raise £16,000 to get this far and we already have the money to fight any appeal.”
Committee chairman Councillor Brian Cox told the meeting earlier: “I have never before received so many letters and emails objecting to a development, most of which raised good planning reasons for doing so. I would like to pay tribute to the people who have written those letters and emails.
“It’s my view that the developers totally underestimated the strength of feeling. Hundreds of people are in no doubt that these masts would have been severely detrimental to this tranquil area of countryside.”
STAG spokesman Graham Parker said the turbines would be a blot on the landscape and would ruin the views from their homes and dominate the skyline.
The road infrastructure was ill-equipped to cope with the volume of lorry traffic it would have to withstand during construction, while the noise would be unbearable for householders, he added.
Paul Grimshaw, development manager at Wind Prospect, had argued the development was crucial for the country.
He added: “Nationally and regionally we are behind on renewable energy targets. We should be looking to explore onshore wind energy at every opportunity.”