Applause as plans for wind turbine blown out
9:03am Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
THERE was applause after plans to build a wind turbine at Douglas Valley Golf Club were thrown out.
Councillors on the planning committee went against officers' recommendations and rejected proposals for a 30ft turbine at the club near Blackrod bypass.
Plans for a twin-bladed turbine of the same size at the site, which is on protected green belt land, were also rejected by the committee in March last year.
Applicant Paul Downes appealed against the decision, but nearby residents, who claimed it would lead to noise pollution because the site was close to homes in Nightingale Road and Chorley Road, vowed to continue their fight.
In October government planning inspector George Baird rejected the appeal, claiming houses in Nightingale Road would become “substantially less pleasant places to live” due to the potential visual impact of the turbine.
The golf club submitted a new proposal for a turbine which had three blades instead of two, in response to concerns raised by the planning inspector that two-bladed structures “appear to rotate much faster” and are “more visible”.
The new turbine would also have been 260 metres away from the previous site.
Those plans were recommended for approval at a meeting in January, but the decision was delayed so the committee could visit the site.
Speaking at the meeting, supporter Steven Hartley said the changes had been made in response to concerns.
Horwich and Blackrod councillor Lindsey Kell said: “In the officer’s report, they acknowledge that this proposed wind turbine would still be visible to the surrounding area.
“Their report also states that the height and design of the turbine would not be dissimilar to the previous turbine which was turned down by this committee and indeed deemed inappropriate by the planning inspector.”
Before councillors continued their discussion, planning officers reminded them that according to national policy, having concerns over wind turbines as a form of energy were not suitable grounds to reject an application.
Cllr Bob Allen said: “For it to be acceptable it has to demonstrate exceptional circumstances because it’s on the green belt. It fails miserably in that respect.”
Sixteen of 21 councillors voted to reject the plans on the grounds it was unsuitable development in the green belt.
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