A planning application for a windfarm on the Melton Airfield site has been formally submitted to the borough council.
Wind Ventures wants to build two 426ft high turbines on one side of the B6047 Dalby Road and two more on the other side.
Should planning permission be granted the firm says it will give the local community a one-off community premium payment equal to 20 per cent of the value of the wind farm, prior to construction (sum expected to be at least £250,000). In addition it says it will give a community benefit fund of £40,000 to the local community each year for the 25-year lifetime of the wind farm.
Project manager Adrian Butler said: “We believe this is an appropriate site for the proposal and that the project could bring significant benefit to the local area.
“We believe that the community premium and community benefit fund can be used to directly benefit the lives of local people and create a lasting legacy of benefit in the area that will last long after the turbines have been removed.”
But campaign group Support Melton Against Rural Turbines (SMART) has dismissed the developer’s proposed payment as ‘derisory’, claiming the wind farm would blight the landscape for years to come.
It is concerned about the windfarm’s impact on the countryside, on settings of important heritage assets including at Burrough-on-the-Hill and its impact on efforts to establish Melton as a tourist centre.
Wind Ventures has submitted its plans following two rounds of public consultation but campaigners claim the company has ignored local opinion.
SMART committee chairman Anthony Paphiti said: “The whole point of local engagement is for the developer to integrate community opinion into any subsequent application. The overwhelming main view was that these turbines are grossly too high.”
SMART asked Wind Ventures to fly a blimp over the site but its request was refused last month by the firm which claimed it ‘wouldn’t be the best way for people to accurately assess the visual impact of the proposed turbines.’
The action group, which stresses it isn’t anti renewable energy, is holding a fundraising quiz night in Great Dalby Village Hall next Friday (May 30) and is also asking for donations to enable a blimp to be flown and experts to be instructed. The group also plan to hold ‘action evenings’ to galvanise opposition to the scheme and enable local people to co-ordinate a unified voice against the application.
SMART committee member Russell Pride said: “The fact that Wind Ventures have refused our reasonable request to demonstrate the true height of their turbines goes to show that they are not a genuine applicant.
“They have millions of pounds and argue that these turbines, that would dwarf Big Ben (315ft), Nelson’s Column (170ft), East Midlands Airport’s radio control tower (172ft) and, closer to home, St Mary’s Church in Melton (top of the steeple said to be 135ft), will blend into the landscape, yet are unwilling to put their money where their mouth is.
“We have a beautiful landscape, led by ancient scheduled monument Burrough Hill, and locally listed buildings that will be ruined by these industrial turbines. If we do not stand up now we will have lost our chance to protect our heritage for years to come.”
Melton Council confirmed this week it had received Wind Ventures’ planning application but hadn’t allocated an officer at the time of going to press. The application, reference number 14/00397/FUL, will be listed on the council’s website in due course (www.melton.gov.uk – then click on the link to view planning applications).
Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the SMART group or get involved in its campaign can visit www.support-melton-against-rural-turbines.org.uk
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