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Ellesmere turbine could have devastating effect on new leisure complex

Building a giant turbine in the Shropshire countryside could have a devastating effect on a major leisure complex, developers have said.

Nigel Thorns Planning Consultancy, which is behind plans for 250 homes, a hotel, restaurant and a leisure spa on land at the Wharf in Ellesmere, has said the planned 327ft (99.7 metre) turbine in nearby Tetchill would have a “significant impact” on tourism in the area.

The leisure development, which has been welcomed by councillors in pre-application talks, is expected to bring a substantial number of jobs and a boost in tourism.

Mr Thorns was not available to comment, but in a planning objection document he said: “We are concerned that the turbine will introduce a tall man made moving structure into this rolling agricultural land which will dominate the rural landscape in this area.

“The proposed turbine will have a significant impact on both the residential and leisure or tourism uses across the Ellesmere Wharf site.

“The residential part of the site is on a gentle hillside which would mean that significant numbers of the houses within the site would have clear views towards the turbine.”

Lincoln McMullan, chairman of Ellesmere Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said the town desperately needs the leisure complex.

He said: “I think it’s an absolute monstrosity building the turbine there, on the hill and overlooking a town.

“It will be devastating for the development – who will buy a house with a turbine bigger than Big Ben outside the window?

“We need the leisure complex, we need the hotel in Ellesmere, we need the jobs and we need the tourism.

“But this will have a really negative effect on the development and all the benefits it would bring.

“The turbine won’t be benefitting the town, but the complex would be absolutely brilliant for it.

“We desperately need everything the complex will bring, and I worry that with such a big turbine they wouldn’t want to build the houses here.”

The turbine, proposed by Intech Clean Energy on behalf of farming family Seven Sisters could see up to 1,400MWh of energy generated each year, powering 280 homes annually and would be removed after its 25 year term.

Nicol Perryman(CORR), a representative of the energy company, said: “There is no evidence to suggest that wind turbines have any negative impact on tourism, so there is nothing that suggests it would affect tourism at the Wharf site.

“I understand one of the issues people have is the visual impact of the turbine, but just because something is visible it does not make it unacceptable.

“There are of course benefits the Wharf site will bring and they are very important, but it is important to understand that the wind turbine will also be feeding energy directly into the grid, with the nearest users being the people of Ellesmere, which is a benefit too.”

An application for the Wharf development is expected to be submitted in August while consideration of the wind turbine application is still ongoing.