Plans for a controversial 150ft high wind turbine for a village near Melton have finally been passed – six years after they were first submitted and around four years after it was built.
Sajid Javed, Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government last week reversed the decision of two of his predecessors by allowing the 46m (150ft) turbine on farmland off Klondyke Lane, Thorpe Satchville.
It was refused by Melton Borough Council in 2012, citing damage to the landscape.
But permission was granted on appeal a year later by a government inspector and the turbine was subsequently erected.
Villagers who formed the Thorpe-SayNo group to fight the plans breathed a sigh of relief two years later, in 2015, when Secretary of State Greg Clark reinforced his predecessor Eric Pickle’s refusal of the turbine after planning appeal decisions were called in.
After deciding to overturn the inspector’s decision and block the appeal, Pickles was himself overruled when his decision was quashed by the High Court.
When it returned to appeal stage, Pickles’ successor as communities secretary, Greg Clark, again recovered the decision and refused permission in 2015.
A series of High Court hearings followed before Communities secretary Sajid Javid finally gave it the go ahead last week.
Explaining his decision, he referred to the council’s emerging Local Plan which is currently the subject of a public examination, which stated that the appeal site was ‘an area of low or low to moderate sensitivity to wind turbine development and turbines of up to 50 metres in height would be acceptable’.
The report continued: “The public benefits of the turbine comprise the environmental advantages of the generation of renewable energy and the contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Secretary of State also agrees that it would help diversify farm business, protect employment, provide a sounder financial footing and reduce energy costs.”
One villager, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m absolutely all for green energy, but putting a wind turbine on the outskirts of a picturesque village when there is plenty of other open fields around is sacrilege.
“To put a turbine this size in a village setting is ridiculous.
“I fully support green energy – it’s the way forward, but they should line them alongside the M1 where the land is already spoiled. This one should not be allowed to be sited where it is.”
Melton Borough Council deputy leader Leigh Higgins, whose Somerby ward includes Thorpe Satchille, said: “The local community are extremely disappointed with the decision and now face having an industrial sized object just a few hundred metres from people’s homes, it is an alien feature in the countryside.
“While I took the time to make it clearly known the turbine, which has been erected for some years already, did not address the strong opposition and concerns of the local community, the decision seems to have put those to one side.
“This episode has been at huge public and private expense going through various legal challenges.”
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