The Secretary of State has thrown out plans for a wind turbine near Stone.
Hallmark Power had appealed against Stafford Borough Council’s refusal of its plans for a 272-metre high turbine near Cotwalton Road, Cotwalton.
But the Secretary of State for communities and local government, Greg Clark, has agreed with a planning inspector’s recommendation to refuse the application and has dismissed the company’s appeal.
The plans were refused unanimously by Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee in May 2014 and 300 letters of objection were received.
Hallmark Power appealed against the decision and in September 2015 that appeal was recovered for the Secretary of State’s determination because it involved proposals for significant development in the Green Belt.
In his findings, the Secretary of State considered that the proposal would fall well short of clearly outweighing the harm to the Green Belt, the landscape and heritage assets so that the very special circumstances necessary to justify the development did not exist.
A letter detailing the outcome said: “The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector that the proposed turbine, by its very nature and scale, would represent encroachment into the countryside and associated loss of openness.”
Significant weight was given to the failure of the proposal to address matters raised by the local community. It was also noted that the application conflicted with several policies of the Plan for Stafford Borough.
Stone MP Sir Bill Cash, who made representations objecting to the plans, said: “I am delighted. I pay tribute to the efforts of the local community in and around Cotwalton in opposing the proposals. The proposed turbine would have had a serious impact on an area of wonderful natural beauty so near to the Moddershall Valley Conservation Area.”
Gillian Stanford, campaigner with the Communities Against Turbines action group, welcomed the news. She said: “It’s always been about preserving the heritage and countryside. We hope the developer will now realise this is not appropriate in a conservation area.”
Ted Manders, head of Planning and Regeneration at Stafford Borough Council, said: “We’re pleased the Secretary of State has agreed with the decision of our planning committee.”
The Newsletter contacted Hallmark Power but the firm declined to comment on the outcome of the appeal.
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