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Windfarm firm launches appeal after mast plan turned down in Rutland

A company is appealing against a decision to refuse a temporary mast at a site where it hopes to put a wind farm.

Rutland County Council’s development control committee refused the application by SSE Renewables for an 80m high mast on land near Woolfox Airfield in May.

But SSE Renewables has this week appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

The company said it had been reviewing the decision since May and had put together a series of photomontages to try to address some of the committee’s concerns. The photomontages show how the mast would look.

Project manager at SSE Renewables Bruce Caldwell said: “The initial planning officer’s report had highlighted the “slender nature” of the meteorological mast and we hope the extra work we have carried out now demonstrates this more accurately and responds to the concerns that members had.

“In the meantime, we have been continuing to carry out further environmental investigations in and around the former Woolfox Airfield to test the suitability of the area for hosting a wind farm, as well as reviewing the comments received at our public consultation.”

If the appeal is successful, the mast will be in place for up to two years to measure wind speeds.

The company needs to measure speeds before deciding whether a plan for 22 130m high wind turbines on the old airfield between Stretton, Clipsham and Pickworth was viable.

Mr Caldwell said a public consultation event would be held in the new year.

He added: “We are keen to keep the local community up to date with our plans as they progress and will be presenting a revised layout for public comment.”

Prior to the refusal, planning officers had recommended the mast be approved.

But councillors cited policy grounds and the impact on the landscape and character of the area as their grounds for turning it down.

Residents set up the Stretton, Clipsham and Pickworth Woolfox Steering Group to oppose the plans because of the visual impact.

Further information on the project, including example photo montages of the temporary mast, are available to view by visiting www.sse.com/woolfox.