September 11, 2013

Renewed deliberations on allowing uni wind turbine

By Bryan Henesey | Nottingham Post | September 11, 2013 |

Green belt land, historic buildings and scenery, and housing plans could be affected if a wind turbine is built on land near the River Trent, it is claimed.

Broxtowe Borough Council has previously refused the University of Nottingham’s plan for a turbine at Grove Farm in Lenton Lane.

But an appeal by the university against the decision began to be heard by planning inspector Neil Pope at Beeston Town Hall yesterday.

Council staff claimed one of the main reasons for refusing the plan last year had been the potential impact on the viability of homes being built on part of the nearby Boots site in Beeston.

Steffan Saunders, planning policy manager at Broxtowe Borough Council, said: “The main reason for refusal referred to the housing development and employment developments on the site.

“If development doesn’t take place on the Boots site, then the housing provision in particular will need to be released from Broxtowe’s green belt.”

The council’s aligned core strategy – which details the authority’s future planning policy – includes proposals for housing on the Boots site.

But David Cassells, representing the university, said the strategy should be given “limited weight” as it is still to be adopted.

English Heritage also voiced concerns about the turbine’s impact on Clifton Hall and Clifton Grove, which are on the other side of the Trent from the proposed turbine.

Clive Fletcher, principle advisor at English Heritage, said of Clifton Grove: “It’s fair to say the landscape has been celebrated over a long period of time, peaking in the 19th century. The Grove was described in D. H. Lawrence’s Sons And Lovers.

“I say therefore the drama of the topography is a central aspect which would be affected by the height and dynamism of the proposal.”

In response, Mr Cassells said the turbine would have a “less than substantial” impact on any visual amenity around the site.

The university estimates the project could produce a third of its annual electricity for 25 years and cut its carbon emissions by 7,000 tonnes every year.

The turbine was one of three it wanted to build at Grove Farm, which lies on both Broxtowe borough and Nottingham City Council land.

The two other turbines have also been refused by the city council.

Around 20 members of the public attended the hearing, with some airing concerns about the turbine’s potential impact on wildlife and homes.

Mr Pope said one issue for consideration during the hearing was “whether the harm by reason of the inappropriate development within the Nottingham and Derbyshire green belt and any other harm, having particular regard to the impact on the openness of the green belt; the character and appearance of the area; the setting of designated heritage assets, including Clifton Hall, Wollaton Hall and listed buildings on the Boots campus; living conditions of residents; and the likely impact on deliverability of the Boots campus strategic development, will be clearly outweighed by the benefits of producing electricity by a renewable source and contributing to the University of Nottingham’s energy strategy so as to amount to very special circumstances for this development.”

The hearing is due to conclude today with site visits, while a decision will be made at a later date.

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