Campaigners fighting plans to stop a wind turbine from being erected on a farm in Aldridge are celebrating after planning chiefs rejected the controversial scheme.
Permission to put a single turbine at College Farm, in Bosty Lane, was refused by officials at a meeting last Friday (November 4) on the grounds that the 67-metre high structure would be “out of scale and visually dominate” the local landscape between Bosty Lane and Mellish Road, and “would harm the character and appearance of the green belt”.
News that plans for the turbine, which whipped up a storm of controversy, had been refused were welcomed by residents and councillors from Aldridge-Central, Rushall-Shelfield and St Matthews, who had joined forces to lobby the plans.
John Leeson, co-coordinator of Hatherton Residents Against Wind Turbine (HRAWT) – one of the action groups set up in protest at the plans – said: “Residents welcome this decision and are delighted that this wind turbine planning application has been turned down by Walsall Council.
“On behalf of residents of Hatherton, I wish to thank Councillor Mohammed Arif for championing the cause of the vast majority of local resident opposed to the wind-turbine.”
In their report, planning officers said the proposed wind turbine was “too large” and would be an “intrusive structure from public vantage points which include Riddians Bridge, the canal towpath and the public right of way”.
The report went on: “Whilst the sustainability aims of the proposal are fully recognised, no very special circumstances have been put forward which are considered to be sufficient to outweigh the harm to the character and openness of the green belt.”
St Matthews ward Councillor Mohammed Arif, co-coordinator of HRAWT, said the council’s decision justified the firm opposition to the plans taken by many local residents.
“The decision taken by the council’s planning officers and reasons given for refusal vindicates the stance taken by groups opposing this particular development in our area of natural beauty to preserve nature and green open space,” Cllr Arif said.
The decision for refusal was also taken due to the “insufficient” technical data and impact assessments submitted with regard to the noise levels the wind turbine would produce.
It was also thought that the blades of the turbine would be too close to a public footpath.
In a joint statement, councillors Tom Ansell and Ron Carpenter – who had also vehemently opposed the plans – said: “Granting of this application would have set the wrong precedence.
“We are not against alternative energy generation or wind turbines per-se, but this development was so near to residential areas and a public right of way.”
Plans for the wind turbine sparked a wave of opposition by local residents from across the three wards affected, who claimed that it would have “a severe visual impact on one of Walsall’s few attractive rural locations.”
A total of 416 residents signed a petition lobbying the plans and more than 100 people packed out St Michael’s Church hall for a public meeting in protest.
The proposals also prompted objections from independent organisations, including Walsall’s Ramblers’ Association.
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