There was applause from the public gallery yesterday as plans for a large wind turbine at a farm in Turton were thrown out – by a narrow margin.
Bolton Council ’s planning committee rejected proposals by 10 votes to eight for a 66-metre structure on green belt land at Birches farm yesterday, despite it being recommended for approval by officers.
Building on green belt – land protected by law against over-development – requires “special circumstances”, and the farm’s owner, Andy Paton, aged 43, who described himself as “a guardian of the land”, said the turbine would make his business carbon neutral and allow him to take on at least two new members of staff.
But one planning chief described the application as selfish.
Mr Paton – whose family have run the dairy farm since the 18th century – said: “I wish to become carbon neutral and this will allow me to do that.
“I see myself as a guardian of the land, I care deeply about the land. It’s something I see every day, it’s my life, my shop floor.”
He added: “The wider community will see the benefit.”
The farm already has two smaller 24-metre-high wind turbines which fall within the boundaries of Blackburn With Darwen Council, and before the meeting members of Bolton’s planning committee were taken on a visit to the farm.
Objector Graham Bushett, whose family live 490 metres from the proposed site, said: “The existing turbines were approved by Blackburn on the basis that their visual and environmental impact would be limited.
“The proposed 67-metre turbine has a blade sweep almost eight times larger than the ones you saw today, so its impact will be enormous.”
Cllr Walter Hall said: “This application is very selfish. There are no special circumstances and no one will benefit from it other than the applicant. This will be a blot on the landscape.”
Cllr Nick Peel described the application as “round four of the wind turbine war”.
He said: “I think what Cllr Hall said was an unfortunate phrase to use. If we all had a piece of land we’d use it.
“It’s not selfish, it’s self-sufficient to not keep taking power out of the National Grid.”
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