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Kingswood parish council objects to proposed wind turbines

Kingswood Parish Council has objected to two proposed community wind turbines south of the village on the basis of their visual impact on the area.

Councillors voted unanimously to object at the parish council meeting on Monday, September 10.

Two planning applications have been submitted to Stroud District Council’s planning committee. The same Gloucestershire-based developer, The Resilience Centre, and a local landowner are behind both proposals.

One is for a wind turbine on Cherry Rock Farm, Wickwar Road, Kingswood and the other for a turbine at Mounteneys Farm, Chase Lane, Wickwar, Wotton-under-Edge. Both turbines would be a maximum of 50m high to the hub and 77m to the blade, although they could be significantly smaller.

Kingswood Parish Council chairman David Rockey said: “The reason the parish council decided to object to them was primarily the height and scale of the turbines with their proximity to the Cotswold Way, taking into account all the complaints we’d had from residents and neighbouring parish councils.”

But Sue Clarke, director of The Resilience Centre, said the applications had only received two objections on the county council website, and that the feedback to their consultations and public displays in Kingswood had been overwhelmingly neutral or positive.

The council’s objections to the proposed turbine at Mounteneys Farm focussed around the visual impact a turbine would have on the nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and on neighbouring Haroldsfield Farm, just 400m away from the proposed turbine site.

Councillors felt a turbine at Cherry Rock Farm would have a detrimental effect on the heritage setting of Wickwar’s 13th century church.

But Mrs Clarke said the turbines would have limited visibility from the villages in the area.

“The whole process is frustrating because we’re trying to fully engage with the local community on a project which has a huge local benefit,” she said.

“A lot of the objections are from fear, not the facts.”

The Resilience Centre is a small company building community-focussed projects with local economic benefits.

Their proposed turbines would work in a similar way to their successful turbine in St Briavels, Gloucestershire, which is open to community investment from £5 to £50,000.

As well as providing electricity into the local grid, the proposed turbines in Kingswood would bring direct annual donations to the community in the region of £15,000 to £20,000 for the 25-year life of the planning permissions.

The applications will go before the county council development control committee later this year.