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Turbine could tower over district

Plans have been submitted to erect a wind turbine which residents fear would be one of the tallest structures in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

The application by David Cotton is for a turbine measuring 79.6 metres (261ft) to the blade tip on land at Blakeley Farm, Blakeley Lane, Whiston.

Residents in the area have already outlined their objections to the turbine, which they say could affect local people’s hopes of the Churnet Valley gaining recognition as an Area of Outstanding National Beauty.

The application was opposed when it was discussed at Kingsley Parish Council monthly meeting last week.

It falls in the Whiston ward of Kingsley Parish Council, but borders both Cotton and Oakamoor parishes.

Chairman Ivor Lucas said: “The parish council is opposed to the erection of the turbine on the grounds it is for commercial use and not domestic.

Also, it is far too high and would stand on a high landscape.”

At a meeting of Cotton Parish Council, residents observed that one of the most prominent Moorlands landmarks, St Giles’ church in Cheadle, stands at just 61 metres. The proposed turbine would be a third higher.

Sheila Mitchell, chairman of Cotton Parish Council, said: “We were very pleased that so many residents came to register their opinions.

“If the applicant was to apply for a small-scale turbine that was sufficient to power his dairy, I’m sure that would be viewed more favourably.

“But the sheer scale of this structure, and its ability to provide power for up to 300 homes, makes us question the motive behind this application.”

Nearby resident Mark Johnson, aged 50, said the proposal was far too intrusive and would ruin the appeal of the area. He said: “It is totally unacceptable that a commercial wind turbine company should be allowed to come into our neighbourhood purely for financial gains.

“The turbine is not even going to provide Blakeley Farm with electricity – it is for financial gain and not to help run a local farm business.

“To make matters worse, the whole community is staggered that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has not sent letters to all the affected properties in the area.”

Whiston Action Group (WAG) has also opposed the proposed development, on the grounds of the size of the turbine, the visual intrusion and the noise pollution the group claims the structure could cause.

Chairman Harry Blood said: “WAG recognise the importance of renewable energy sources and will always try to support applications when the scale, type and location is suitable – clearly not the case in this instance.”

A statement submitted on behalf of the applicant by planning consultants says: “The applicant is anxious to develop a sustainable renewable energy project to both reduce the financial overheads on the farm and also to contribute to the reduction in his carbon footprint.”