Angry residents fighting plans for a wind monitoring mast in the South Staffordshire countryside are facing a nail-biting wait for a decision.
Householders in villages, including Church Eaton, Wheaton Aston, High Onn and Blymhill, are hoping the scheme will be thrown out by a planning inspector.
Renewable energy company Wind Prospect had originally wanted to create six 128-metre turbines and an 80-metre anomometry mast on land at New House Farm Brineton.
South Staffordshire Council turned down the plans in April.
But Wind Prospect lodged an appeal against the council’s decision – although only on its proposal for the wind monitoring mast rather than the full wind farm application.
An appeal hearing was held at South Staffordshire Council last week before planning inspector Alan Gray and a decision is due to be made within weeks.
Campaigner Tony Skelton from the Stop Turbine Action Group, told the hearing the anomometry mast was unnecessary.
He said: “The normal procedure for wind farm applications is the application for an anomometry mast is submitted first.
In this case the company submitted two applications simultaneously.
According to Wind Prospect there was already enough wind to justify the wind farm application so surely an anomometry mast is not needed. If Wind Prospect say there is sufficient wind this mast would serve no useful purpose.
“It will be a huge structure, larger than others in the area.
People can’t get planning permission for building farm buildings on farm land let alone huge structures like this.
“There is also concern that permission for this will open the gates for a wind farm. It is a real threat to us. It will blight the area.” Fellow Stag campaigner Tony Lendon added: “Once the landscape is impacted upon, the damage is done. Is the mast worth all the aggravation it will cause?” Alistair Smith, from Wind Prospect, said: “For this wind farm we decided it was not necessary for an anomometry mast as we had wind information from a mast at Rodbaston. But it was then decided that more onsite information was needed to secure finance. Saying we do not need it is wrong.
“This application is essential. We could appeal against the wind farm decision or we could submit another application for another development. The anomometry mast is still relevant to us.” And architect Tom Gibbons added: “I don’t disagree that the mast is incongruous and will be noticeable but it is all about scale. The mast will be very slim and the further away you go the more it will be screened.
“This area is not unique in landscape terms and it is inevitable some change will come in one way or another.
“I do not think this mast will be intrusive to the whole area.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding