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Appeal for wind farm proposal near Oldbury will be heard in public  

Credit:  By Marion Sauvebois, Gazette, www.gazetteseries.co.uk 20 October 2011 ~~

An appeal lodged by the company behind plans to build a wind farm near Oldbury will be heard in public.

Wind Prospect was refused permission to build four 127-metre high wind turbines in Stoneyard Lane by South Gloucestershire Council in March after a swell of opposition from residents.

Yet they appealed against the decision in June saying that the project did in fact have public support and would generate enough power for 5,500 homes a year, cutting 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The inspector appointed to re-examine the application was originally only going to consider written evidence.

But a public hearing was found to be more appropriate due to the number of representations sent to the Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales and it will be held next month.

Parish leaders in Oldbury, Rockhampton and Hill welcomed the news of the hearing.

Rockhampton Parish Council chairman Tony England said: “The public hearing will allow us to present our case to the inspector and to raise some issues.

“It would not have been possible through written representation. The noise aspect of the wind farm for example has not been properly dealt with. We have some very important points to make.”

The issue of the visual impact of the turbines was the main reason for the council’s refusal to go through with the plan.

Oldbury Parish Council chairman Barry Turner said he was hoping to address other problems, which he said were not taken into consideration by South Gloucestershire Council at the time.

He said: “The landscape and transport issue is the reason the proposal was turned down but there is also a big flooding issue in this location. The turbines would be in a flood risk 3 area.”

A zone 3 flood risk area has the highest flood probability with 1 in 100 or more chances of river flooding.

He added: “We understand the need for renewable energy but what we are saying is that turbines of this magnitude in the area is a bridge too far.”

Hill Parish Council chairman Thomas Jenner-Fust added: “Throughout the planning process the developer has exaggerated the benefits of the proposed wind farm and understated or ignored the negative impacts.”

They all urged locals to attend the hearing to be held at Thornbury Town Council offices in the High Street on November 16 and 17.

Wind Prospect senior development officer Jonny Murphy said: “The Stoneyard Lane Wind Farm proposal was originally recommended for approval by the planning officer. “However we recognise that the plans have generated some interest from the local community and as such we are very happy to engage in this process.

“We have always encouraged local people to have their say and the public hearing will ensure all voices are heard.”

Source:  By Marion Sauvebois, Gazette, www.gazetteseries.co.uk 20 October 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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