Skelmersdale residents are celebrating after West Lancashire Council rejected plans to create a wind turbine on the site of the Walkers Crisps factory.
But leaders of the campaign against the scheme feel that there are more battles ahead if Walkers’ parent company, Pepsico, appeal against the decision.
West Lancashire Council’s planning department received 714 letters of objection to the scheme. At last week’s Planning Committee meeting residents packed the council chamber. Alan Horridge, John Copeland and Eddie Bell put the case against the proposals.
Mr Copeland said: “At its highest point this turbine would be two-thirds of the size of Blackpool Tower. Walkers should look at solar power, as it is environmentally friendly and not as obtrusive.”
Mr Horridge said: “Low level noise from the turbine could disturb sleep. Lack of sleep can cause heart attacks and problems for children with education.”
Steve Crawford from Npower, Walkers Crisps’ representative at the meeting, said: “We have done an environmental impact assessment and a noise survey which shows that the noise expected to come from the turbine is within guidelines. The space constraints at the site mean that solar power would not deliver the power that we need.”
Many committee members raised concerns. The Walkers representative was asked if it would be possible to have two smaller turbines on the site, but he said no. Cllr Terry Aldridge said: “There would be continual noise from the turbine. I propose we reject this because it is unfair on the people of Skelmersdale.”
Ian Gill, deputy borough planner, said: “Looking at the issues in this scheme I don’t feel there are sufficient reasons to reject this proposal.”
Cllr Iain Ashcroft proposed the application be rejected.
Reasons he put forward included that it is contrary to planning policy GD1 in terms of the scale height and appearance of the development. Members voted in favour of his proposal and rejected the turbine. After the meeting Mr Horridge said: “We are all really pleased the council voted to reject the application. But we know the campaign isn’t over and we are waiting now to see if Pepsico will appeal.”
A Pepsico spokesman said: “We are very disappointed by this decision. The wind turbine would significantly reduce our environmental impact and represents a significant investment in our Skelmersdale factory. We will now review the decision and carefully consider our options before deciding which action to take.”