Controversial plans to site a 132 metre-high wind turbine next to a historic railway viaduct are a step closer.
Councillors have narrowly voted in favour of granting permission to Severn Trent for the turbine which would be sited next to Bennerley Viaduct, at Ilkeston.
Despite nearly 300 objections, members of Broxtowe Borough Council’s development control committee pushed the application through at a meeting at Beeston Town Hall.
The 10-person panel was split five for and five against but chairman Steve Barber used his casting vote to approve the plans.
Now the final decision will rest with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as the turbine would be sited on Green Belt land.
Severn Trent says the turbine would help cut energy costs and keep down charges to customers.
But 282 people opposed the application which would see the turbine sited closest to homes in Cotmanhay.
At the meeting, protester Paul Howard said: “It will spoil the Erewash Valley trail which has only just been opened. The turbine will be noisy and destroy the quiet of the area.”
His views were echoed by Councillor Brian Wombwell.
He said: “Wind turbines are not acceptable in the Green Belt and 88% of people who responded to the application opposed it.”
Erewash Borough Council has questioned the impact the structure would have on Bennerley Viaduct.
In a report they stated: “Photo montages (in the plans) clearly show the turbine will dominate the landscape from residential areas in Ilkeston and Cotmanhay.”
Bennerley Viaduct, built in 1877, is on a list of important historic structures and used to take trains from Derby and Ilkeston to Nottingham.
Martin Dent, renewable energy manager at Severn Trent, said the firm’s costs are the lowest in the UK and cheap energy produced by the turbine would help to maintain this.
The application is the second submitted by Severn Trent to cause controversy in the region.
It also wants to build two 132-metre-high structures at its Sewage Treatment Works in Megaloughton Lane, Spondon but East Midlands Airport said they would pose a “serious safety hazard” to aircraft.
A planning officer at Derby City Council has recommended the Spondon proposal is rejected and it will be considered by city councillors at a future date.
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