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Villagers relieved as plans for wind turbines rejected

Residents of three picturesque villages near Tamworth heaved a collective sigh of relief this week, as planners threw out controversial plans for two wind turbines.

German company Prowind wanted to erect two 334ft wind turbines at Hogs Hill on land at the back of Main Road, Haunton.

But Lichfield District council planners backed an officer’s recommendation to refuse the controversial proposal.

If approved, the two turbines would have dwarfed the spire of St Andrew’s Church in Clifton Campville, one of the tallest steeples in the country.

The turbines were to be built on land belonging to Haunton farmer and West Midlands Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Bennion, and protesters said the scheme would blight the villages of Haunton, Harlaston and Clifton Campville – and further afield.

Mease and Tame Valley district councillor Sue Arnold told the Herald: “I was very proud of our community, over 50 residents turned up to the meeting and Nigel Tongue spoke against the plans. The planning committee supported the officers recommendation to refuse the scheme.

“It is good news for the people of Haunton,Clifton and Harlaston, but of course it could go to appeal.”

Council officers had recommended the committee turn down the application, saying the giant bladed turbines would be an “unacceptable visual intrusion in the local landscape”, harming the character and appearance of the countryside.

A report to the committee said that the scale of the application would cause “substantial harm” to 18th century farmhouse Dunnimere Farm and four barn conversions, dwarf the 305ft-high St Andrew’s spire and have a detrimental affect on the character and setting of listed buildings and other heritage assets as far afield as the National Memorial Arboretum and Lichfield Cathedral.

A total of 167 letters of objection were received.

Speaking to the Herald last week, Phil Bennion said that he felt strongly about the need for renewable energy sources.

He said: “I’ve been aware of the need for renewable energy for the last 20 years and have already been working towards that. I grow a biomass crop, which supplies energy to my property. It’s not just business.”