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Storm over wind farm  

Credit:  By Simon Moss, Gazette, www.basingstokegazette.co.uk 24 July 2011 ~~

“Not in our back yard” – that was the message from protestors campaigning against plans to build a wind farm in the north Hampshire countryside.

TCI Renewables wants to erect seven wind turbines – that could be 100 metres tall – on land at Woodmancott Down, near Popham.

The Oxford-based company put its ambitious proposals before the public on Tuesday at East Stratton Village Hall, in Church Bank Road, East Stratton.

Bosses say it will produce enough electricity to power 7,000 homes a year.

But a group of villagers are fighting the proposals, saying it will ruin the countryside as a visual amenity.

Emily Bray, a resident of Woodmancott living close to the proposed site, told The Gazette opponents will continue to fight the proposals. She is a member of the Say No To Candover Wind Farm action group and said: “We are certainly not against renewable energy, but it does not have to be so close to our homes.”

Mrs Bray also argued the tall turbines could cause problems for aircraft from RAF Odiham and Popham airfield.

Gerald Ellis, the owner of Breach Farm, which borders the site, said the wind turbines would devalue his estate “by 25 per cent”. He said: “It is beautiful countryside and they want to put huge structures in the middle of it. There are so many better places for this sort of thing, I cannot see why they would have to be here.”

Bruce Hutt, finance director at TCI Renew-ables, said Hampshire is well below national targets for renewable energy and these proposals would go some way to redress the balance. He continued: “We have been very surprised with the support we have received from the community.

“We were prepared for more vocal opposition and in truth we haven’t had that. Nevertheless this is an important part of the planning process and we will have to collate what we have learned. If people have objections it is largely down to the view rather than the fact it is renewable energy.”

Mr Hutt added the company is eager to give something back to the community, with a fund of around £21,000 earmarked. This could be used to fund community projects or to reduce energy bills for neighbouring properties. Any decision would have to be made with local representatives.

The company applied to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for planning permission to erect a “test mast” to gather how energy could be taken from the site. However this was rejected by planners earlier this year. The company confirmed it submitted an appeal against this decision three weeks ago.

It could submit a full planning application for the turbines next year.

Source:  By Simon Moss, Gazette, www.basingstokegazette.co.uk 24 July 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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