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Plans to increase size of Leek wind turbine recommended for refusal  

Credit:  By Leslie Jackson | Leek Post & Times | August 11, 2015 | www.leek-news.co.uk ~~

Plans to increase the size of a wind turbine on the edge of Leek have been recommended for refusal.

It comes after new Government guidance on community support for such schemes was issued.

Mark Pickford of Kniveden Farm, Mount Road, Leek, has applied for a variation to change the model of a wind turbine which was approved on appeal by planning inspectors in June 2013.

However, a condition of the approved plans specifies the location, dimensions, power rating and other details of the allowed structure.

Now following the proposed change a new planning application has been submitted, which will go before members of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s planning applications committee this Thursday.

A report to councillors by planning officers Arne Swithenbank, said: “The consequences of the longer blade reach are that the overall top height of the turbine structure would be 36.6m (120 feet) rather than 34.2m (112 feet) and the diameter of the area in which the blades would be seen to turn would be 23.5m (77 feet) as opposed to 19.2m (62 feet).

“The applicant submits that the alternative model proposed is more efficient and quieter than the approved model producing more energy for limited differences in the scale of the structure.

“No supporting documentation or information other than the application form and elevation drawing has been submitted.”

Fourteen letters of objection have been received, which highlight reasons for refusal including the increased rotator swept area and that it would be visible from Morridge, The Roaches and Buxton Road.

Now Mr Swithenbank has recommended that councillors refuse the application.

He said: “A Written Ministerial Statement of June 18, 2015, is considered the leading principle in the determination of this proposal. The details in the statement have also been incorporated into the Government’s National Planning Practice Guidance.

“The statement and amended guidance present two new specific considerations.

“When determining planning applications for wind energy development involving one or more wind turbines, local planning authorities should only grant planning permission if the development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan; and following consultation it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.

“There is no evidence of community support for this proposal and the application has not addressed the planning impacts identified and therefore the authority is not satisfied that this proposal has community backing.

“The proposal is not considered therefore to meet the requirements of the transitional arrangements in the Written Ministerial Statement. The increased dimensions and altered proportions of this proposed alternative turbine model resulting in a rotating form in the blade head 150 per cent greater than in the allowed model, reaching two metres closer to the ground and two metres higher into the sky, would result in a very significantly increased harmful visual impact.”

Source:  By Leslie Jackson | Leek Post & Times | August 11, 2015 | www.leek-news.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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