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Campaigners trying to stop three wind turbines being built near Tewkesbury have been hit by a setback

Campaigners trying to stop three wind turbines being built near Tewkesbury have been hit dealt a setback

Although Wind Prospect’s main proposal to install the 126m turbines at Strensham has yet to be considered, it had plans to continue monitoring wind speed there approved.

The Bristol-based company only had permission to have a 70m monitoring mast at the site until February 2011 and in April last year Tewkesbury Borough Council rejected its application to keep it there until February 2013.

But that decision has now been overturned on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate.

Its inspector, Jill Kingaby, decided the structure was acceptable, environmentally, and could remain in place for another 12 months.

She made her decision despite realising that campaigners wanted the mast to be removed.

She said: “The current proposal to extend the time limit is seen as an attempt to gather data which will be more supportive of the appellant’s search for a ‘windy’ site.”

But she said that did not alter her view that the extra year’s permission should be granted, adding: “As the main villages are more than 1km from the site and as the mast is a slender feature, it does not dominate or intrude on the scene to a great extent.”

Hundreds of objections to the turbines plan have been lodged with the council by people from areas such as Strensham and Twyning. They fear the structures will be a blot on the landscape that will be seen from miles around and may cause noise problems for those living closest to them. Dave Wallbank, from Strensham Wind Action Group, said his main concern was that the data being gathered by the mast was not being made available to the public by Wind Prospect.

He said: “They’re not releasing the data, in the same way that they won’t release the noise information.”

He added his group was as determined as ever, four years after the plans were first mooted, to oppose them.

Alistair Smith, for Wind Prospect, said: “We’re still pursuing this site. We’ve got the minimum amount of information from the mast. Everything above that will be useful and beneficial to us.”

But he said deciding whether there was enough wind at the site was not an issue that would affect the council’s decision on the main application.

Borough bosses said their planning committee is unlikely to consider the matter before April.