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Energy company set to appeal after wind farm plan is rejected

A company behind plans for a six-turbine wind farm near Basingstoke is set to mount an appeal after Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council gave the scheme the thumbs down.

TCI Renewables applied to the borough council for full planning permission to erect the group of 130-metre-high turbines on land at Woodmancott Down, between Dummer and Micheldever, in June 2013.

Councillors on the borough council’s development control committee voted to support planning officers’ recommendation for refusal because of the impact the development would have on ecology, the landscape, nearby conservation areas and the safety of operations at Lasham Airfield.

However, Bruce Hutt, finance director at TCI Renewables, has warned the fight is not over, and told The Gazette that the firm would appeal the decision.

Mr Hutt spoke in favour of the wind farm at last Wednesday’s meeting, saying the development would generate power to 11,000 homes.

He said: “There is limited impact to residents, limited impact to views, and limited impact on heritage assets, aviation and the Chilbolton Observatory. It is right that smaller effects are outweighed by the substantial benefits the scheme would bring.”

Jonathon Moseley, a member of the Save Our Scenic Hampshire Downs (SOSH) campaign group, spoke against the application, saying: “All of us understand the need for renewable energy but the wind turbines are not appropriate to the environment where they will be sited.

“This is not a windy site. These turbines are not sustainable, environmentally or socially.”

Councillor Diane Taylor, Conservative member for Oakley and North Waltham, moved a motion to reject the application, telling councillors that it was one of the “most impacting” applications she had dealt with on the committee.

She added: “This cannot be an acceptable impact in my view. When you get people going on a walk, they are going to get half way along and say ‘there are wind turbines, we must be in Basingstoke’ – but I don’t want that to happen.”

Labour councillors David Potter, Michael Westbrook and George Hood, and Liberal Democrat councillor Michael Bound were the only members of the 12-strong committee to vote in favour of the application.