Controversial plans to build a giant wind turbine in an area of outstanding natural beauty have been thrown out after protests from countryside lovers.
Dairy farmer Stuart Heath had sought permission to build a 72-metre high (236ft) wind mast less than 1km from the Peak District National Park at Red Earth Farm, Rudyard.
But the application sparked 1,500 objections and is the most controversial plan StaffordshireMoorlands district councillors have dealt with in recent years.
Mr Heath said he had been the victim of a vendetta over the proposals and added that some residents had been intimidated into signing letters of objection.
He said the 500KW turbine would have provided electricity for his business and up to 472 other homes.
He also offered to plough £5,000-a-year into schools and community charities for 25 years if the application was approved.
But members of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s planning committee yesterday threw out the application by nine votes to three.
Objector Marie Brough told the packed meeting that the proposed turbine would have been taller than the Nicholson War Memorial and would have a significant impact on the landscape.
Councillor Stephen Ellis said: “There has been the largest volume of objections to this application that I have seen.
“The statutory consultees have also put forward very strong and serious objections.
“I personally have some very serious concerns about wind turbines, which are very ineffective and inefficient.
“They are a blot on the landscape for 100 per cent of the time. We are the custodians of the landscape. People do not come to the Staffordshire Moorlands to view wind turbines. If they wanted to do that they would look offshore.
“There are 44,000 homes in the Moorlands and if they were all to be provided with electricity in this way that would mean 94 more turbines.
“Can you imagine what the countryside would look like with all those splattered about?”
Councillor Mike Bowen added: “If visitors do not come because the landscape has been spoiled then tourism will collapse.
“If this application goes ahead we will get more and more applications. Every farmer will want one and people will want them in their back yard next.”
But Councillor John Fisher warned that without more ‘greener’ electricity, fuel bills would soar.
He said: “There are 9,000 homes in Leek and 472 of those would be powered by this turbine, which is about five per cent. It is not much, but it is a start ”
The committee’s decision was welcomed by campaigners who packed the public gallery.
Mrs Brough, of Heaton, near Rudyard, said: “I am very pleased. We will have to wait and see what happens now. If necessary, we will continue the fight.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding