Wind turbine plan rejected
10:46am Thu Oct 31, 2013
 
An application for a 75-metre wind turbine near Orston, which received more than 200 objections, has been turned down.
The turbine, which would have been built on land near Spa Lane, around 600 metres from the nearest house, was rejected by Rushcliffe Borough Council officers on Thursday.

It was opposed by campaign group Orston and Surrounding Villages Against Turbines (OSVAT) which is also campaigning against proposals for a second turbine in a field near Spa Lane and proposals for an anaerobic digester, that would convert crops into power, between Orston and Flawborough.

Hallmark Power began drawing up plans for the £1.3m turbine in December after a farmer approached the company and expressed an interest.

It would have had a power range of 500kw and an estimated annual output of 1,447,290 kilowatt-hours.

The company claimed that would have been enough to power 348 homes for a year and would save 430g CO2/kWh, or 622 tons of carbon a year.

In his report, borough council principal planning officer Mr Norman Jowett outlined the planning officers’ objections.

The report said the turbine would have a detrimental impact on the setting and character of the Orston Conservation Area.

It cited the potential negative impact of the turbine on the historical setting and the potential for a significant impact on views of the Vale of Belvoir when viewed from Belvoir Castle.

Mr Jowett said: “The development is not one of the forms of development considered appropriate in the open countryside.”

He said it would have an overpowering impact on properties nearby and a distracting effect on users of the recreation ground on Spa Lane.

The project manager and Orston parish councillor, Mr David Wheeler, said he was disappointed the application had been turned down and was preparing to appeal the decision.

He said there were no material reasons to reject the turbine, based on Hallmark’s research.

“We absolutely want to take the project forward,” he said.

“What constitutes visual impact is very subjective.

“I could understand if it had an impact in an area of outstanding natural beauty or a national park but this is the Vale of Belvoir.

“Wind turbines have to be sited in the countryside because they don’t work in built-up city areas.”

He said the turbine would not have an impact on nearby buildings as it would be at least 600 metres away.

OSVAT chairman Mr David Sims said the campaign group was delighted it had been refused but were preparing to challenge an appeal.

“We are confident, given the very strong reasons given by the planning officer in this case, that any appeal is bound for failure and that other projects, which industrialise the countryside, face an uphill battle.

“The Government must do more to create a coherent plan across the UK for renewable energy.”

Rushcliffe Borough Council was asked if Mr Jowett’s comment that “the development is not one of the forms of development considered appropriate in the open countryside” meant the council was opposed to either the principle of wind turbines or their location in open countryside.

The response was that planning permission is not normally granted for open countryside developments not listed in the borough council’s EN20 policy, which is part of the council’s local plan adopted in 2006.

Wind turbines are not mentioned in EN20, however, the policy is considered a starting point, and planning officers weigh it up against other national and local policies, including the need to deliver renewable and low carbon energy infrastructure.

Significant weight is given to a development’s impact on landscape and local amenities and recent Government guidance places a greater emphasis on protecting heritage assets and views important to their setting.

The borough said that in this case planning officers gave that considerable weight in their decision to refuse permission.

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