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Villagers “pleased” after inspector rejects wind turbines

Campaigners have breathed a sigh of relief after a planning inspector threw out plans to build two wind turbines on Green Belt near Stourbridge.

Severn Trent Water had appealed to the Planning Inspectorate at Bristol against South Staffordshire Council’s rejection of its proposal to build the two 132-metre high turbines on a site at Gibbet Lane, Whittington.

But after a public hearing at the council offices in Codsall the planning inspector concluded the council was right to refuse planning permission for the scheme which had angered villagers in nearby Kinver.

In his report, planning inspector Neil Hope said: “The very tall height of the turbines, their sizeable blades and access track would be likely to detract from their enjoyment of the visual qualities of the Green Belt.”

He also outlined fears the turbines could have had a negative impact on nearby beauty spots such as Clent Hills and Kinver Edge which attract thousands of visitors each year.

John Macriner, of Kinver Green Action Group, said campaigners were “pleased” with the result and he stressed members would “keep an eye on anything that could be contentious in the Green Belt”.

District councillor Brian Cox, chairman of South Staffordshire Council’s regulatory committee, also welcomed the planning inspector’s report, backing the council’s refusal of the scheme – which also included the creation of a 990-metre access track across fields.

He said: “Protecting our Green Belt is hugely important to us and the sheer size of developments like this could do irreversible damage to an area that boasts some of the most beautiful countryside and popular walking routes we have.”

Martin Dent, renewable energy development manager for Severn Trent Water, said: “Obviously we are very disappointed our planning application for two wind turbines on STW owned land at Whittington has been turned down as they would have generated a significant amount of energy.

“We do understand the benefits from any new energy source have to be considered against the harm to the Green Belt, and on this occasion, the planning inspectors and local authority clearly thought any harm outweighed the benefits.

“We have no further plans for this location, but we will be progressing our plans at other sites.”