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A victory for ‘people power’

Campaigners have hailed a decision to reject plans for a controversial wind turbine in Blackrod as a “victory for people power”.

Proposals for a 45-metre high, twin-bladed turbine at Douglas Valley Golf Club, off Blackrod bypass, were originally thrown out by Bolton Council ’s planning committee in March.

Applicant Paul Downes appealed against the decision but nearby residents, who claimed it would lead to noise pollution because the site is close to homes on Nightingale Road and Chorley Road, vowed to continue their fight.

But government planning inspector George Baird has now rejected the appeal, claiming houses in Nightingale Road would become ‘substantially less pleasant places to live’ due to the potential visual impact of the turbine.

He also said it would be an ‘inappropriate development’ for the greenbelt land which is protected by law against overdevelopment.

Horwich and Blackrod councillor Lindsey Kell, who had opposed the plans, said: “I am delighted on behalf of local residents that Bolton Council ’s planning committee’s decision has been upheld.

“It will be a huge relief for residents in Blackrod, particularly in Nightingale Road, which would have overlooked the proposed wind turbines.

“There has been a recent influx of wind turbine planning applications which propose to locate turbines on greenbelt land.

“I am very pleased that the planning inspector has ruled that this planning application would have sited wind turbines in a wholly inappropriate location and it would have adversely impacted upon local residents.

“It is a real victory for ‘people power’ as local residents have campaigned so hard about this issue and they have made sure that their views have been taken into account”.

Bolton West MP Julie Hilling said: “I raised my objections to the wind turbines before this application was decided at the planning committee.

“While I support green energy, I believe this site was an inappropriate location for a wind turbine, being so close to residents’ homes.

“I am very pleased with this result from the planning inspector who has looked thoroughly at the issue and has upheld the original decision made by Bolton councillors.”

John Price, chairman of the Blackrod and Horwich Environmental Action Group, said: “Obviously we’re pleased for residents and we’d like to thank Bolton Council’s planning committee for the decision they originally took.”

The golf club declined to comment.