Town hall planning chiefs have unanimously rejected an energy company’s proposals to build a windfarm on the moors above Rochdale.
Campaigners applauded and cheered as members of the council’s planning and licensing committee threw out Coronation Power’s controversial scheme for a 12-turbine installation off Rooley Moor Road.
An alternative plan for an eight-turbine windfarm in the same location was also rejected by the committee – but Coronation Power say they will appeal.
Nigel Morrell, from the Norden Area Forum, Joan Snowdon – Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association – and Dr Steve Davidson all made representations urging the panel to reject the application.
Ward councillors Cecille Biant, James Gartside and Peter Winkler also spoke in favour of rejecting the plans.
Coun Winkler, who represents Norden, blasted the proposals and Coronation Power’s track record.
He said: “This is a disastrous plan, a veneer of gloss has been applied by this company which has a history of putting in these type of applications, and every time they obtain permission the site has immediately been sold on to developers.
“They put company profits before the rights and needs of people in the borough who would have to live with the development.
Rooley Moor Road where Coronation Power had been looking to build a windfarm
“I have never seen a report so comprehensive and the fact there are eight reasons for refusal is overwhelming, and these are comprehensive and valid reasons.
“They want to plough up fragile moorland to install these windmills and they will not be able to be removed, they will be there forever.”
He added that small businesses in the area, particularly those in the recreation and tourism sectors, would be ‘devastated’ if the permission were to be granted.
But Edward Romaine, project manager for Coronation Power, said Rochdale was the ‘right place’ for a windfarm and dismissed the reasons for refusal as ‘weak’.
He said: “Rooley Moor has one of the best wind regimes in the whole of England.
“There have been no objections from Natural England, English Heritage or the Environment Agency.
“The reasons given for refusal are very similar to those given against the developoments at Scout Moor and Crook Hill. It’s mud thrown against the wall to see what will stick.”