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Residents back district council’s fight against windfarm development


By Gavin Moore

A campaign group opposed to plans  for a windfarm near Helmdon are urging residents to fight on as the firm behind the proposals appeals against planning refusal.


The Helmdon, Stuchbury and Greatworth Windfarm Action Group is now backing South Northants Council’s planning department in the fight to have their decision upheld.

This follows the announcement last week by Broadview Energy that they intend to lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate against SNC’s refusal to grant permission for five 125m high turbines at Spring Farm Ridge, just off the B4525 near Helmdon.

A public enquiry next year will now determine the fate of the application.

The turbines were to be sited less than 600m from the nerest properties, affecting the lives of thousands of people.

In response to the appeal, Keith Jones, chairman of HSGWAG sid: “We are surprised that Broadview have ignored the clear message that SNC’s planning department gave them in June this year.  The decision notice refusing their application was clear this scheme was contrary to a wide number of planning policies.

“It is sadly however an indication of how financially lucrative the wind industry has become for onshore wind developers, even in the least windy part of the UK.  Turbines in this location will be idle for much of the year generating little to no electricity.  Their contribution to the grid will be negligible but their impact on the local area will not.  As such, HSGWAG will fully support SNC and intend to continue opposing this application in the strongest terms.”

SNC rejected the original application citing factors including the intrusion into an ‘unspoilt rural landscape  and nearby conservation areas’, the ‘failure by Broadview to demonstrate there would be no noise disturbance’, their ‘failure to demonstrate there would be no negative impact on wildlife’, and the lack of a viewing platform which may result in motorists  stopping on a dangerous stretch of road to view the turbines.

A spokesman for SNC said they supported the Govermnment’s objectives for renewable energy, and a wind farm would be approved if it complied with a range of assessment criteria.

Stephen Clarke, chairman of the SNC Development Control Committee, said:  “In the case of the Broadview proposal,  the committee did not consider the proposal to meet local policy requirements as it would be detrimental to the historic environment, ecology, the wider landscape, highway safety, the amenities of local communities and the local economy and that this harm outweighed the strategic benefits of renewable energy production.”

A spokesman for Broadview said they hoped the inspector would balance the national need with local impact and they firmly believed the site was an ‘excellent location’.

The Brackley & Towcester Advertiser – 25 November 2011

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