Campaigners battling a controversial wind turbine near Uttoxeter breathed a sign of relief as council chiefs unanimously threw out the plans – but vowed to keep fighting any appeals.
Staffordshire County Council’s planning committee rejected plans by Aggregates Industries and AGRewables for a 255ft (78m) wind turbine on Uttoxeter Quarry, in Spath, to cheers of joy from the public gallery.
Residents and objectors were out in force in the Oak Room at the Staffordshire County Council buildings, in Stafford, to fight their case and hear councillors make their decision.
The meeting heard objections from Leslie Trench, on behalf of Uttoxeter Wind Turbine Action Group (UWTAG), Uttoxeter mayor Martin Blencowe, county council leader Phillip Atkins and Colin Whittaker, of Uttoxeter Rural Parish Council, who all received applause after they had finished speaking.
Tim Claxton, from Aggregates Industries, spoke in support of the application.
Councillor Blencowe, speaking to the committee, said: “The town when approached from almost any direction announces it presence with the view of St Mary’s Church spire, our parish church, the skyline is completed by the silhouetted outline of the high school and other town centre buildings. A view from the outskirts of the town that has remained much the same for many years.
“A 78m turbine plus the length of its blades less than 1.5 km from our nearest housing and amenities will completely destroy the view described.
“At a time when the town council is actively trying to promote itself, neighbouring towns and the Moorlands, such a project detracting from the visual impact that is enjoyed by Uttoxeter and its surrounds makes that task so much more difficult.”
Councillor Whittaker said the turbine would potentially mean a loss to businesses and residential properties as well as amenities to the area.
Councillor Atkins, speaking from his role on Rocester Parish Council, said: “We were promised quarrying would be finished at the end of the century and now it is a new century.
“The wind turbine would have an unacceptable effect on the local community and it will attract attention from the side of the road on the B5030.
“This is not a safe road with a number of fatalities and anything that pulls eyes away from the road is not safe.”
Mr Claxton spoke about how Aggregates Industries is committed to reducing carbon emissions by using renewable energy on its own land.
This would allow the company to invest more in quarrying and its employees.
He said: “It has not been universally objected as others will have you believe and the consultation gave it a clean bill of health.”
However, councillors made it clear in their discussion that most members were against the turbine and this was confirmed when it was unanimously rejected.
After the meeting, Ivy Spencer, who runs Rivermeade Guest House and Caravan, which is the closest building to the proposed site, said she was very pleased.
She said: “I am very, very happy. I live 350 metres from the proposed site and I have been extremely worried about it for my own personal health and quality of life.
“It is amazing it has been rejected.
“It has made me ill because of the stress and strain so hopefully I can now get back on track.
“Everybody has been wonderful and united and we gave the right opposition.
“We have had such wonderful support from the people.”
Mr Trench said they were all very pleased with the result.
He said: “It is a very encouraging day. Of course we will have to see if they appeal.
“We hope they will not do so, they have heard the voice of the local councils together with that of the individuals and wildlife groups, to name just a few.
“If they do choose to appeal they can be sure we will fight them and we will not give up and never go away until they decide to listen to the local community.
“What has been particularly encouraging is people of all different beliefs have stood together and you could not put a cigarette paper between them. This was a very misguided proposal.”
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