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New plans for Churchover wind farm

A fresh bid to build a wind farm north of Churchover has been made two years after the original plans were thrown out amid strong opposition.

Renewable energy firm RES plans to follow the bid made by power company SSE which was refused in 2011 by Rugby Borough Council on grounds it would damage the surrounding environment.

But RES wants to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. It plans to reduce the number of turbines from nine to four and would build them further away from villagers’ homes if given permission.

SSE’s plans for the wind farm attracted strong criticism from people in Churchover, led by campaign group ASWAR, who feared it would damage their way of life.

And it would appear campaigners are still opposed, with ASWAR questioning the need to build the wind farm on land in the Swift Valley.

Chairman, Lorne Smith, said: “The community, with over 90 per cent against the turbines, fought for two years and defeated SSE, one of the UK’s largest energy companies.

“I have no doubt people will be as devastated as I am another company has the arrogance to tell us it is for our own good they want to ruin a conservation village, with a listed church that has dominated the meandering Swift Valley heritage beauty spot for over 1,000 years, with industrial turbines five times the height of the church spire.

“I feel physically sick from the trauma all over again but I am confident this small threatened community will pull together.”

The area of the land being targeted is considered a rich source of wind energy. RES estimates the four turbines could produce enough electricity to power 5,500 homes.

Project manager, Dan Patterson, said: “There are a number of factors that make this site a good choice for a wind farm, including excellent wind resource, good transport links and an available grid connection.

“On the other hand, we know the previous proposals raised concerns about impacts on people and the environment.

“We have therefore gone back to first principles and want to develop an entirely new wind farm proposal that balances the need to create more sustainable and reliable sources of renewable energy with local concerns.”

RES plans to consult with the borough and parish councils, campaign groups and villagers over the coming months before submitting its proposals.

Mr Patterson added: “As a responsible developer, RES is committed to open and honest dialogue with communities and those who represent them.”

A planning application for Swift Wind Farm will be submitted later this year.