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Collision fear over wind turbine next to A428 at Caxton Gibbet which villagers think will distract drivers

Plans for a wind turbine next to a dual carriageway have been approved despite villagers’ fears it would distract drivers and cause collisions.

Abbey Group was given permission to erect the 25m (82ft) tall turbine outside the restaurants besides the A428 at Caxton Gibbet even though parish councils in Caxton, Elsworth and Papworth Everard had objected.

The application was considered by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee.

Speaking afterwards, Cllr Lynda Harford, the panel’s vice-chairman, said: “The committee looked very carefully at the impact on the A428 but, bearing in mind there was already development there, the general opinion was that the impact wasn’t harmful.

“It’s always a shame when we are not able to support a parish council but on this occasion we could not.”

A McDonald’s, a Subway and a Costa Coffee stand on the former site of the Yim Wah House Chinese restaurant, which was destroyed by fire in 2009.

The turbine will stand east of the eateries, about 50m from the A428, and will generate electricity for the site.

Papworth Everard was among the parish councils to object to the application.

Its representation said: “The parish objects to this proposal for reasons of road safety.

“The presence of the turbine adjacent to the A428 will be extremely distracting for drivers and may result in an increase in accidents.”

Caxton Parish Council said the turbine would be “a distraction and hence dangerous to traffic”, while Elsworth Parish Council said its proximity to the road “may distract drivers and cause traffic accidents”.

Concerns were also raised about the appearance of the turbine.

But a report from planning director Jo Mills said neither the Highways Agency or the county council, who are responsible for transport, had objected.

She argued the small scale of the turbine compared to commercial versions meant the harm to the landscape would be “limited” and not enough to justify councillors refusing the application.

The committee voted to approve the application with the proviso that additional landscaping be agreed if it is deemed necessary to minimise the adverse impact on the surrounding area.