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Controversial wind turbine gets go-ahead

A controversial plan to build a 430ft wind turbine less than a mile from hundreds of homes in Cotmanhay has been given the go-ahead.

Broxtowe borough councillors narrowly voted in favour of Severn Trent’s plan this week, despite nearly 90 per cent of nearby residents objecting to the plan.

The turbine is set to be built in the Erewash Valley, 630 metres from homes in Cotmanhay and 750 metres from Awsworth, which residents with fears over their health, TV interference and ‘visual pollution’, argued was too near.

Paul Howard, representing the residents, said: “This application is all about money and shareholders and little to do with renewable energy.”

Of the 321 letters sent to residents, 282 objected and just 17 approved.

In a statement to its neighbouring authority, Erewash Borough Council said that it was concerned that the benefit of the turbine would be ‘outweighed by the harm to the character and appearnace of the green belt’.

Despite those concerns, Broxtowe gave it the green light at the planning meeting in Beeston.

The turbine, which will generate power for Severn Trent’s sewage works at Halls Lane, Giltbrook, will tower above the grade-II listed Bennerley viaduct and be visible from most of Ilkeston.

Broxtowe borough councillor for the ward Mick Brown called it a ‘rape of the countryside’.

He said: “Once they have got their foot in the door, the Erewash Valley will be awash with these.”

But renewable energy manager from Severn Trent Martin Dent argued that the turbine will keep the firm’s prices the lowest in the UK for customers.

“This is a good development for the area and will help safeguard the interests of our customers,” he said.

Following a visit to turbines near Mansfield, councillors on the planning committee were divided.

Cllr Brian Wombwell said: “Regarding the view, any view is subjective. If we don’t put this in greenbelt, where on Earth are we going to put it? The objections will be raised anywhere.”

But Cllr Craig Cox claimed the carbon used to construct the turbine would never be offset by the small amount it generates. He added: “With 88 per cent of residents opposing this, we would be doing those people an injustice.”

After a long debate, the committee voted five in favour and five against, with chairman Cllr Steve Barber having the casting ‘yes’ vote.

The decision will be passed on to the Government as it requires special permission to be built in greenbelt.