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Turbine would ‘spoil beauty spot forever’

Protesters have won their fight against a wind turbine being built in a moorlands beauty spot.

Council officials had wanted to allow a farmer to erect the 112-feet structure in the face of 130 objections from nearby residents in Cellarhead.

But members of the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Planning Committee yesterday overturned their recommendation and rejected the bid after hearing how the white turbine would spoil the scenery, become a road hazard and threaten wildlife.

The application to locate it on greenbelt land off Little Blakeley Lane, Overmoor, had been made by Robert Whitehurst, whose family has farmed 300 acres there for nearly for 49 years.

He wanted to use the proceeds of its electricity to offset the farm’s running costs so he could continue to make the area more beautiful.

Mr Whitehurst said: “We have created five acres of woodland and meadows, and restored 2,500 metres of hedgerow, all to the benefit of wildlife.

“We love doing this but it costs us money and the turbine will help secure the future of the farm so we can continue to do it.”

But he was told by committee member Linda Malyon: “This turbine, together with a 115-metre track leading to it, will change the landscape and goes against everything you have tried to do.

“It will be dumped slap bang in the middle of a beautiful area and would spoil it forever.”

Planning officer Arne Swithenbank said the turbine would generate enough electricity for 49 homes and the nearest properties were 300 metres away.

He added: “It would not be over-bearing and the degree of harm to the greenbelt is limited but the additional income is seen as significant for the farm. These are all special circumstances supporting the application.”

He was backed by member John Fisher, who said: “Turbines are helping reduce carbon emissions and the countryside around there already has pylon after pylon.

“They are new to the moorlands and we must be careful where we site them but this location is contained. It is not on top of a hill or as obtrusive as some are making out.”

But describing it as the height of eight double-decker buses, Judy Bagnall, who has lived in the area all her life, said: “We were devastated to hear of this development – it will have a huge impact on our quality of life.

“If allowed, it will cost us so much and be a massive threat to the area’s wildlife, including barn owls and red kites.”

She told how she had visited a similar sized turbine in Warwick and stood the same distance as her home is from the planned location.

She said: “I was horrified by its size and scale, as well as the relentless noise from it.”

The application was defeated by six votes to four.