The developer behind the proposed nine-turbine windfarm on the old Asfordby mine site is to contest Melton Council’s decision to refuse it.
Peel Energy has submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and it will be determined at a public inquiry likely to be held in May.
Melton Council’s develop-ment committee turned the application down in August last year following a tense three-hour debate.
Earlier this month the council agreed to set aside £50,000 to fight the appeal should Peel finally confirm it was pressing ahead. The money will now be needed to provide legal advocacy and expert planning, heritage and landscape witnesses.
Peel wants to erect nine turbines, eight to a height of 125m and one to 108m, on land between Asfordby Hill and Ab Kettleby.
Campaign group STOP (Stop Turbines Oppose Peel) said it was ‘very disappointed’ that Peel Energy has decided to appeal ‘against the local democratic decision made by our council to refuse planning permission’.
It went on: “However the facts have not changed; the many and serious negative impacts of such a large development in our beautiful countryside, too close to many homes and important heritage assets, far outweigh the benefits.
“STOP will be doing all we can to fight the appeal and with the continued support of the 800-plus local residents and businesses who objected to the planning application we are confident that we can ensure the council’s decision will be upheld.”
For its part Peel argues that councillors’ stated reasons for refusal, including landscape and visual impacts and the impact on heritage, were noted as insufficient grounds for refusal by the council’s own planning officers.
Peel’s development manager Stephen Snowdon said: “The Asfordby Windfarm was originally recommended for approval by council planning officers. The inquiry will provide Peel with an important opportunity to present the evidence of its application and demonstrate the positive aspects of its scheme and the valuable contribution that it will make towards generating renewable electricity within the region.”
Peel says the Asfordby Windfarm would have an installed capacity of up to 18MW, generating enough electricity to meet the average needs of more than 8,500 homes – the equivalent of 33 per cent of the households in Melton.
The windfarm would have an operational life of 25 years and there would also be a Community Benefit Fund once the scheme became operational.