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Residents’ defeat over wind turbine

Residents living near an M6 service station have lost their fight against plans for an onsite wind turbine.

A 61.1m high turbine, at Stafford Northbound Service Area near Eccleshall, has been given the go-ahead by Stafford Borough Council.

The turbine is intended to generate energy for the Moto service station and is predicted to produce the equivalent of 169 homes’ supply each year during its potential lifetime of 25 years.

But residents living in the nearby Lakesedge development have said they and their neighbours in the Cold Norton area will have to live with the consequences for the next 25 years, including droning noise and visual impact.

At last week’s planning meeting Brian Carter of Eccleshall Road, Stone, spoke against the plans on behalf of 14 Lakesedge households and said they had 11 other neighbours including those in Cold Norton.

“Between Lakesedge and the cottages is a further housing development, The Oaks, which currently has five houses with a further 17 planned in the immediate future. In other words, if you approve this development, you will be inflicting a detrimental effect on the locality that will affect no fewer than 47 households with the nearest only 329 metres from the proposed site,” he said.

“It is admitted by the applicant that there will be shadow flicker affecting one of these properties and the BBC anticipates eight of the households having their television reception disturbed. “The applicant does not disguise the fact that the noise generated by the wind turbine will be in addition to the current background noise and it is this factor that is our chief objection as well as the visual impact.” Borough councillor Tom Harris, who spoke on behalf of the applicant, said that as a Green Party member he was “very much in favour of seeing renewable energy generated in areas where it is appropriate”.

“This turbine is approximately half the size of most commercial turbines we see around the country – it is in fact the smallest available commercial wind turbine.

The noise generated by it will be drowned out by the traffic on the M6.

“There are concerns ice build-up on the blades could be dangerous. But the sensors would sense the extra weight on the blades and simply shut it off.” The plans met with a mixed reaction from councillors at last week’s meeting.

Councillor Philip Jones said the turbine would be visible from a site in north Walton earmarked for potential development in the future. Councillor Bill Simpson said the turbine would be “a blot on the landscape” and Councillor Ann Edgeller spoke of concerns for residents’ TV reception.

But Councillor Geoff Collier said: “I’m all for (the applicant) producing electricity for themselves.” And Councillor Barry Stamp said: “At some point we have got to grasp the nettle and allow turbines. More and more people are appealing against refusal of planning permission and more and more appeals are being allowed.” The application was passed with a majority of two votes.