Protest group to set up windfarm fighting fund
Credit: Melton Times | 14 March 2013 | www.meltontimes.co.uk ~~
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A campaign group opposed to a nine-turbine windfarm on the old Asfordby mine site has issued a rallying cry to its supporters.
STOP (Stop Turbines Oppose Peel) is preparing to take on Peel Energy once again when the renewables firm appeals Melton Council’s decision to refuse it planning permission at a public inquiry this spring.
The lobby group has called a public meeting to be held at The Stute, Asfordby Hill, on Wednesday (March 20) at 7.30pm when it will thrash out its campaign strategy.
Melton Council has already set aside £50,000 to fight the appeal, to provide legal advocacy and expert planning, heritage and landscape witnesses.
But STOP will also be doing all it can to ensure the council’s original decision to refuse the scheme is upheld.
Peel wants to erect nine turbines, eight to a height of 125m and one to 108m, on land between Asfordby Hill and Ab Kettleby.
More than 800 residents and businesses objected to the planning application, adopting the slogan ‘Too Big, Too Close’, and councillors turned it down primarily because of the impact it would have on the landscape and heritage assets.
Emma Musson for STOP said: “We would like to bring evidence to the planning inquiry on the issue of noise to support the council’s case but we need the full backing of the community to do so.
“Last year, with the support of the parish councils, Alan Duncan MP and others, we flew blimps on the site and produced posters, leaflets and flyers to keep residents informed.
“Residents donated about £3,000 to successfully oppose the application, but fighting the appeal could cost several times that sum and we need support to once again demonstrate just how strongly local people feel about the inappropriate siting and detrimental impacts of these industrial scale turbines.
“We believe these huge machines will blight many people’s lives and detract from Melton’s historic setting and appeal as the Rural Capital of Food.”
STOP is also calling on anyone who has yet to object to Peel’s plans to do so before the March 26 deadline for representations. The address is The Planning Inspectorate, 3/20 Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN quoting the reference APP/Y2430/A/13/2191290.
Peel will argue at the inquiry that the stated reasons for turning its application down were noted as insufficient grounds for refusal by Melton Council’s own planning officers.
It added that it ‘welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate the positive aspects of our scheme and the valuable contribution 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, and would have an operational life of 25 years.
l The inquiry will open at Phoenix House in Nottingham Road on May 7 and is expected to run until May 29.
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