Wind farm battle is won by villagers - but appeal is due

VILLAGERS who have fought against plans for a four-turbine wind farm on land in south Warwickshire wept out of happiness after councillors voted to refuse to give their consent to the scheme.

In a battle that has lasted for more than four years, Broadview Energy’s application for the farm, on land close to Bishops Itchington and Knightcote, was rejected by Stratford District Council’s planning committee last Tuesday.

Having received around 1,500 letters of objection, including from Coventry Airport, the Ramblers Association and Warwickshire County Council’s archaeology department, council officials had encouraged councillors to vote against the plans.

Their unanimous decision, at the end of a two-hour meeting, centred around the view that the turbines would have been a blight on the landscape - in particular to the Burton Dassett beacon tower, that three homes would have suffered an “unpleasantly overwhelming and unavoidable presence” and that the farm would have had a “significant negative impact” on archaeological finds at the site that date back to the Roman period.

There was also concern over unresolved safety issues on how the turbines would impact on air traffic at Coventry Airport and the fact that the wind farm could have potentially interfered with a telecommunications microwave link.

Around 200 people attended the meeting - while many more were able to watch it live online. Among those at the meeting was John Bolton, a member of campaign group Feldon Residents and Wind farm Turbines (Frawt), who said: “There were tears of joy at the end of the meeting. You can see the enormous amount of local feeling there is here.

“The biggest issue was that people did not want the Burton Dassett hills to be spoilt. This is an important Warwickshire resource.”

Olly Buck, Broadview’s development manager, said: “Obviously we are disappointed. We have worked closely with the council’s planning officers over a number of years to achieve a suitable design and we had hoped that this would lead to a recommendation for approval.

“We believe the site has the potential to make an important contribution towards Government targets for renewable energy generation and the transition towards a low carbon economy, so we will seek to immediately lodge an appeal.”