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Council gives thumbs up to wind turbine as residents promise to fight back

Campaigners have vowed to fight on after losing their battle to bring down a 66.5 metre wind turbine in Woodborough.

The structure – which has blades measuring 33 metres – was erected on Woodborough Park Farm in 2013, but has faced a barrage of legal challenges since, leading the planning application to return to Gedling Borough Council.

But on Wednesday night, councillors voted through the plans – 10 in favour and five against – leaving residents reeling.

Councillor Peter Barnes, who sits on the planning committee, told the meeting: “I’ve been on this committee for nearly 40 years and we have the best planners by far. I respect the people who disagree with this application, but to say it [the turbine] is ugly and not efficient is beyond belief.

“No-one objected to the pits but no-one knew what harm coal could do then. This turbine provides clean and cheaper energy and you don’t have to put any men down there to get it.”

The turbine was granted planning permission in November 2011, despite more than 1,100 objections, and after being built in December 2013, it began powering local homes and contributing to the National Grid in March the following year.

The farmer who put it there, John Charles-Jones, said last year it managed to generate 800,00kw/h – enough to power 200 local homes.

But this didn’t stop the Woodborough and Calverton Against Turbines (WCAT) protest group taking the farmer to the High Court and then the Court of Appeal to get the planning permission quashed.

Mr Charles-Jones was given one last chance to submit revised planning application, and after last night’s vote, he hopes the issue has been put to bed.

“Common sense has prevailed,” he told the Post. “Let’s just hope now that this will be the end of it.”

But protesters, who packed out the Council Chamber at Gedling’s Civic Centre, promised to continue their fight to get the turbine taken down.

Former criminal lawyer Julia Holder, who is part of WCAT, said: “We fought the battle and won the battle, but here we go again. If there are grounds, we will have no hesitation going through the judicial review process again.”

The legal costs have been pricey for all sides, with Gedling Borough Council paying out £126,000 in judicial review costs and Mr Charles-Jones said his bill hit “six figures”. The protestors have also fronted up £14,000 so far.

And councillors admitted at the meeting this was not the last they would hear of this planning application.

Councillor Colin Powell, who voted against granting planning permission, said: “What we can all agree on is we are between a rock and a hard place. I have no doubt legal action will take place [again]. It will not end up here.”