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Severn Vale wind farm plans thrown out

Wind farm proposals for fields in the Severn Vale have been rejected by a planning inspector.

Next Generation’s appeal against Stroud District Council’s rejection of its application for four, 120 metre-high turbines has been dismissed.

This morning, Government-appointed inspector Richard Thomas told all parties that the council was right to turn down the application from the sister company of Stroud-based green energy firm Ecotricity.

The plans for Standle Farm, Stinchcombe, provoked outrage in the village, but Next Generation said the turbines were in the right place to capture enough wind to generate much-needed green electricity.

In his summing up, Mr Thomas said the harmful impacts on the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and nearby historical sites was one of the reasons for dismissing the appeal.

“There is a clearly expressed need for renewable energy and the proposed development would make a modest contribution towards satisfying it, as well as making a small contribution to local employment,” he wrote in his report released this morning.

“There are no significant objections to the proposal in terms of noise, public safety or shadow flicker that could not be successfully overcome by suitable conditions, and there would be limited demonstrable impact on the local tourist industry.

“However, the acknowledged nationally important benefits of the proposal have to be weighed against the significant harm that the proposal would cause to the setting of and views from the Cotswold AONB and thus to its landscape and scenic beauty.

“The AONB is acknowledged as an important national asset, the conservation of which is accorded great weight by the (planning) framework and protection by local planning policy. “In addition, there would be substantial harm to the settings of Stinchcombe Conservation Area and the church of St Cyr, and to that of Berkeley Castle, a Grade 1 listed heritage asset, also of national importance.

“These harmful impacts, together with the harm to the living conditions of certain residential occupiers, would conflict with relevant development plan policies that are in accordance with national guidance in seeking to protect the AONB, heritage assets and living conditions. “I consider that the cumulative harm is of such magnitude that it outweighs the benefits of the proposal.”