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Fingers crossed for wind farm decision

People across south Northants have been on tenterhooks this week as they await the result of a High Court challenge against proposals for wind farm near Helmdon.

In September South Northants Council and Greatworth resident Veronica Ward began a legal challenge against a planning inspector’s decision to allow Broadview Energy to build on Spring Ridge Farm just off the Welsh Lane, B4525.

Broadview want to build five, 125m high turbines, capable of providing enough electricty to power nearly 8,000 homes for a year.

Some of the turbines are less than 800m away from homes and farms and campaigners, including the Helmdon, Stuchbury and Greatworth Wind Action Group (HSGWAG) believe the turbines will be an unacceptable intrusion into the lives of near by residents.

A High Court judge is expected to deliver his findings today.

The decision is due just days after the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Nick Boles signalled a Government rethink on how onshore wind farms should be built.

Answering Tory backbencher Stephen Phillips who asked if the minister’s department had considered setting a minimum distance between turbines and homes, Mr Boles said: “We have been clear that wind turbines should not have unacceptable impacts on local communities, but we have not set minimum separation distances nationally, because to do so would cut across localism.”

Although he supported minimum distancing in his own constituency Mr Boles said a top-down approached could not account for local topography.

Mrs Ward said: “If they allow these wind turbines it will be so unfair to residents, just as they realise you can’t put these huge turbines next door to homes

“If we win may be Broadview will have to go away, the tide has turned on putting turbines in tight corners. If we lose it will be a travesty.”

People living east of Towcester are also following the case closely as communities in the Tove Valley fight plans by Gamesa to build upto eight turbines.

A spokesman for a the Tove Action Group said: “The national policy on wind turbines has been shifting in recent months with subsidies being cut, and clear evidence of disagreement within the Coalition with Ministers such as John Hayes stating that ‘enough is enough’ on wind farm expansion. If there is really a change of direction it is time for that to be reflected in the High Court.”