Plans for a controversial wind farm in Churchover were refused by council planning chiefs last night (Wednesday).
Energy firm SSE Renewables wanted to build nine turbines at Bransford Bridge near Churchover but the application was recommended for refusal on the grounds it would contravene the council’s planning policy and be a blot on the landscape.
Since the proposal was first announced last year it has been met with staunch opposition from Churchover residents who set up campaign group Against Subsidised Windfarms Around Rugby (ASWAR).
Lorne Smith, spokesman for ASWAR, said: “It would destroy the community if the turbines were built.
“We have had a long campaign to get to this point. The parish has been very responsible in how it’s conducted the campaign both technically and politically – they have shown it’s against Rugby’s planning policy and we have shown the community is completely against it.”
Rugby’s MP Mark Pawsey submitted a letter of objection to the council in which he said the effects the scheme would have on residents needed to be fully considered.
He said: “I am concerned because of the proximity of turbines to individual residences. If the development is allowed to take place there will be significant visual and noise impacts on the local area which will significantly affect the quality of life for local residents.”
Parish councils in Churchover, Cotesbach and Monks Kirby all registered their objection although Pailton’s parish council voted in favour of the wind farm.
The council report noted the potential harm the 126 metre high turbines would have on heritage sites such as Churchover’s Grade II listed Holy Trinity Church and the cumulative affect on the landscape of being the fourth consented wind farm in the area following those at Low Spinney near Lutterworth, Swinford and Yelvertoft.
But Mark Hammond, spokesman for Rugby’s Friends of the Earth group, said too much consideration had been given to the visual impact of the scheme.
He said: “It’s disappointing as it seems the decision was made on visual grounds and the outcome is not quite what we expected. It would have been the first wind farm in the West Midlands if it had gone ahead and there is a need for renewable energy.
“What are we planning things for – just for what they look like? The wind speed round there is quite good and the area is recommended for wind farms.”
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