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Farmer’s appeal over wind turbine at Wall near Lichfield is dismissed  

Credit:  By Alex Keller | Lichfield Mercury | May 23, 2014 | www.lichfieldmercury.co.uk ~~

An appeal against the red light shown to two proposed wind turbines at Wall has itself been dismissed.

The original application, submitted by agent Bowler Energy on behalf of village farmer Stuart Ryman, asked to site the turbines on his land at Manor Farm, Wall Lane.

Measured from the ground to the tip of a blade at its tallest, the pale grey-painted 50kw turbines would have had a height of 46 metres.

They were to be sited about 120 metres apart alongside a track 850 metres north-west of the buildings of Manor Farm.

But Lichfield District Council’s planning committee turned down the scheme in November 2012 as it represented “inappropriate development in the green belt”.

Mr Ryman appealed but this appeal has now been dismissed following a site visit by planning inspector John Braithwaite, who said that permission must be withheld.

In a report revealed by the district council, Mr Braithwaite noted that Wall evolved around the Roman settlement of Letocetum, the remains of which are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM).

“The main issues are, first, the effect of the proposed wind turbines on the openness and visual amenity of the Green Belt, the character of the landscape, the visual amenities of residents of the area, and the setting of nearby heritage assets,” he said.

“And, second, whether the harm caused is outweighed by other considerations.”

The original application for the turbines maintained they would have “minimal” impact on the landscape and Wall’s conservation area – a point backed up by Bowler’s archaeological report.

It said any adverse impact would be offset by the “wider economic and environmental benefit” of renewable energy.

But Mr Braithwaite determined that the turbines “would be tall man-made features that would intrude into the continuity of the rolling countryside and undermine the openness of the Green Belt”.

“They would be either glimpsed or fully visible from Claypit Lane, Birmingham Road and from the footpath and bridleway and, given in particular their height, form, material and turning blades, they would have a significant adverse effect on the visual amenity of this part of the Green Belt,” he added.

“The ruined buildings of the Roman settlement in the SAM are set down in the landscape and the turbines would not be visible from the vicinity of the buildings.

“The SAM, however, is an extensive area reflecting the influence that occupation of the Roman settlement would have had over its immediate surroundings.

“The School House is on the boundary of the SAM and, as from this residential property, the two turbines would be visible from within SAM boundary.

“Views out from the north-east corner of the SAM would be compromised by the two turbines and its setting would be harmed though this harm, as it is limited in extent, would not be significant.”

The inspector concluded: “The proposed development would undermine the openness and have a significant adverse effect on the visual amenity, of the Green Belt.

“The development would have a significant adverse effect on the immediate landscape.

“The proposed development would contribute to meeting the effects of climate change but the turbines would not benefit local business or the local community and there is no site specific reason for the erection of the turbines in the proposed location.

“The harm by reason of inappropriateness and to the openness of the Green Belt, and the significant adverse effect that the turbines would have on the character of the landscape and to the visual amenity of the Green Belt, is not clearly outweighed by the renewable energy benefit of the proposed wind turbines.

“Very special circumstances therefore do not exist in this case.”

Lichfield District Council’s application for a partial award of costs attached to Mr Ryman’s appeal was refused.

“The appellant has not acted unreasonably during the appeal process and the council has not therefore incurred unnecessary expense,” added Mr Braithwaite.

Source:  By Alex Keller | Lichfield Mercury | May 23, 2014 | www.lichfieldmercury.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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