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Staffordshire wind turbine set to be built despite protests

A towering wind turbine will be built in Staffordshire after a government-appointed inspector overturned a decision by councillors to reject the scheme, it emerged today.

The 164ft turbine will go up in Blithbury Road, Hamstall Ridware, Rugeley, despite widespread opposition from residents who had complained it would be an eyesore. The plans were originally turned down in July last year.

But applicant BJB Farming Ltd appealed the decision and permission has now been granted by the Planning Inspectorate.

A report announcing the decision states the turbine would not spoil the area or be a danger to users of a nearby gliding club.

The document states: “From some vantage points there would be screening by trees and although the turbine would be visible it would not be significantly detrimental to the overall landscape setting. The proposal would sit in a large scale open arable landscape and there would be views beyond and past the turbine.

“The existing UK target for the generation from renewable sources is 15 per cent by 2020 and wind power is likely to contribute a major part of this growth.”

In the appeal decision it concludes: “Should the turbine cease to generate electricity for six months or more it should be decommissioned and removed.”

BJB Farming wants to use the turbine to generate electricity for its arable business in Rugeley. Councillor Ian Pritchard, who represents Kings Bromley on Lichfield District Council, said today: “As it was one turbine in isolation, I had no objections at the time. But I know there were residents who were worked up over it. They were against the plans and said it would be an eyesore. The gliding club also raised objections.”

The 500-kilowatt turbine will be 3,937ft away from the nearest house.

Meanwhile plans for a 164ft wind turbine next to a motorway service station in Stafford have been lodged with the borough council.

Moto Hospitality Ltd wants to install the turbine next to Stafford Services, just off junction 14. Moto bosses say the turbine will reduce the site’s carbon footprint.

A decision on the turbine plans is likely to be made by bosses at the borough council in July.

Last year Staffordshire County Council introduced a ruling aimed at protecting the countryside from major wind turbine schemes. The council set a stance which means the authority can now reject any single turbine reaching a height of more than 164ft. The motion also means the council can turn down developments of more than 10 turbines at a single site.