Townsfolk are breathing a sigh of relief after plans for a giant wind turbine near Uttoxeter have again been rejected by Government inspectors.
Aggregates Industries appealed to the Government planning inspectorate after Staffordshire County Council’s planning committee rejected plans for a 255ft (78m) tall wind turbine at Uttoxeter Quarry, in Spath.
However, after a site visit last month, inspector David Rose agreed with the county’s planning chiefs and again rejected the application.
He said his main issues with the application is the impact it would have on the character and appearance of the landscape, having particular regard to the scale of the structure, and the timing of the proposals in relation to the permitted working life of the quarry.
Mr Rose also took objection to the effects on bird life in the locality, whether the development would prejudice the quality of future sports and provision and would the benefits of the project be outweighed by any harm he has identified.
He said: “The appellant has subsequently sought to categorise the proposal as a standalone development and maintains that it is not, in any event, ‘industrial development’.
“In this regard, it is notable that the period for which permission was sought was far in excess of the permitted active life of the quarry which suggests that even if there was a primary functional link with mineral processing, the turbine would have a longer term unrelated use.
“Moreover, to my mind, a wind turbine, as a machine to generate energy, in the terms above, would not fall within the definition of industrial development.
“The concerns about potential impacts on bird populations are largely related to the approved restoration of the quarry to large areas of water and the need to assess the impact of the proposed turbine on future waterfowl populations and also the lack of more effective proposals for mitigation of lapwing impacts.
“The plan also acknowledges that Aggregate Industries ‘has plans to support the provision of a sports facility but (is) also to submit a planning application to erect a wind turbine on the site adjacent to the proposed pitches’.
“The layout plans, provided by the appellant, for the proposed sports hub are no more than illustrative.”
The latest development has been welcomed by members of the Uttoxeter Wind Turbine Action Group (UWTAG) who have been battling to stop the plans since they were first revealed back in 2012.
The fight has been backed by Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths, county and borough councillors and residents.
Objections to the wind turbine included the size of it, the noise it would create, dangers to the wildlife and the damage it would do to the landscape.
David Bown, who is a member of the group, said: “UWTAG feels that this is the right decision for the turbine site and the Uttoxeter area.
“We cannot thank the local MP, county councillors, borough councillors and the people of Uttoxeter enough for their support during the long campaign.
“We hope that moving forward the land at the quarry will be utilised for the benefit of the community.”
Delays to the end of work at Uttoxeter Quarry has been an on-going issue for residents and the latest plan could see it delayed until the 2020s.
The quarrying has been accepted with the promise of providing the town with a recreation and sports facility, including a sailing lake and a cricket pitch, once it has been completed.
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