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Jubilant wind farm objectors are thanked by chairman

Campaigners have won their latest battle against a planned wind farm near Church Eaton – but they believe the war is not over yet.

The proposal for six 128m wind turbines, an 80m anemometry mast and associated infrastructure at New House Farm, Brineton, was soundly rejected by South Staffordshire Council’s Regulatory Committee on Tuesday – with just one abstention – from Councillor David Heseltine.

Dozens of objectors packed into the council chamber at Codsall with many having to view proceedings from a neighbouring room. Before the meeting members of King Street Stag (Stop Turbine Action Group) protested outside with placards.

The council had received almost 300 objections to the plans, and a petition.

But there was also an anonymous letter of support received, a committee report said.

Applicant Wind Prospect had requested an extension to the determination deadline until mid-July, to allow a document addressing the concerns raised in Natural England’s response to the proposal to be submitted and for further early summer newt and hedgerow survey work to be carried out. But the request was refused by councillors on Tuesday.

The plans had been recommended for refusal for six reasons, including unacceptable visual intrusion because of the development’s scale and siting, potential loss and disruption to hedgrows, loss of trees, and insufficient information on the impact of the development on protected local wildlife.

Graham Parker, an agent speaking on behalf of objectors, added that there were also concerns about the development’s impact on local residents, including noise and thousands of heavy goods vehicle movements on a winding country road network.

But Wind Prospect development manager Paul Grimshaw said that trees removed from the site would be replaced with trees as close to the original sites as possible.

He added that the site was one of just five identified in the county as being potentially suitable for the development, and that the UK was behind in meeting targets for renewable energy.

But committee chairman Councillor Brian Cox said: “I am coming to the end of my 24th year on this council and I have never before seen an application being as completely opposed as this one.

“I would like to pay tribute to those who sent letters and emails – they were properly written with proper planning reasons in all but four or five cases.

“ I also pay tribute to the work Stag has done in advising their members. It makes life easier for our officers.

“The developers have completely underestimated the feeling of local people.

I think it is a hideous application.” Speaking after the meeting Stag chairman Tony Lendon said the group was prepared to continue their fight if Wind Prospect appealed against the decision.

“Wind Prospect are more than likely going to go for an appeal and we are more than ready for it,” he said.

Mr Grimshaw said after the meeting: “We are very disappointed with this decision. We will examine the report from the planning committee once it is published by the council before making a decision on whether to appeal.

“We are particularly disappointed that the council refused our request for deferral as we believe these additional survey findings are needed to make a fair and informed decision.

“We stand by our commitment to the site and firmly believe that King’s Street is one of very few sites in South Staffordshire that meets the criteria for a wind farm of this scale.”