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Villagers celebrate as wind turbine bid is blown away

Villagers are relieved after a plan to erect a massive wind turbine has been blown away by councillors.

The application to install the 284ft turbine and substation on land by High Elms Lane in Benington was recommended for approval by officers at East Herts Council.

But councillors decided the answer wasn’t blowing in the wind and voted to throw the application out, at last Wednesday’s meeting of the development control committee.

Residents in neighbouring Watton-at-Stone are celebrating the defeat of the scheme.

Parish council Mike Smith told the WHT: “It’s a good result for local people.

“It’s what they wanted and it’s what they’ve got.”

He added: “It was rejected on visual impact [grounds] and I think that’s the right result.

“It would have had a huge visual impact.”

The decision is a second blow to applicant Andrew Bott, who first unsuccessfully applied for planning permission for three larger turbines in 2009.

A poll in Benington last month showed the majority of villagers were against the plan which would have fed energy into the national grid.

The Welwyn-based Hertfordshire branch of the Campaign for Rural England (CPRE) also opposed the turbine.

CPRE planning manager Seg Baker wrote to East Herts Council to voice the organisation’s concerns.

The latter read: “We consider the visual impact and loss of tranquillity resulting from the proposed

development would have a severely detrimental effect on this area of high landscape value.”

It added: “We do not believe that very special circumstances exist that outweigh harm to the Green Belt and other harm from this inappropriate development, which lies in part in the Green Belt and the remainder of which lies in an important landscape setting.”

The long-running campaign against the windmill was backed by North East Hertfordshire MP Oliver Heald and best-selling author Frederick Forsyth, who lives nearby.

The Day of the Jackal writer previously branded the turbines an “eyesore”.