STUNNED villagers have vowed to step up their campaign against a wind farm developer who was this week given the green light to erect a 60-metre mast near a beauty spot.
Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council had rejected an application for an anometer, which measures wind speed, but this was overturned by planning inspector Mark Dakeyne after applicant Banks Developments appealed.
Upholding the appeal, Mr Dakeyne explained: “I conclude that the harm that I have identified in relation to character and appearance is outweighed by the benefits of the proposal as part of a renewable energy project notwithstanding the large number of objections to the proposal.”
Campaign group Stop Bickerton Wind Turbines – which raised a 226-name petition, supported by about 80% of residents living near the proposed site – believes an application for a five-wind turbine farm is now inevitable.
SBWT chairman Mike Voisey said: “We are extremely disappointed. The decision by the planning inspector flies in the face of local opinion.
“We canvassed everyone within 1.5 miles of the site and 80% of residents positively objected. In a democracy 80% against any issue should be enough.”
Mr Voisey added: “We expect that the developers will follow with a full application for an industrial wind turbine development within months. We suspect that the developers have already made their minds up to push forward with the plan and we do not think that figures recorded by the monitoring mast will be significant in this decision.”
Eddisbury MP Stephen O’Brien, who is to meet Banks Developments, fears the economic impact on a popular tourism spot.
He said: “I should like to hear their (Banks’) proposals first-hand, but I will be making it clear that I am in total support of my constituents who have serious concerns.”
He added: “Cheshire’s admirable diversification, which gives added economic value including equine and equestrian facilities, farming and major tourism, are all likely to be put under great threat for the sake of a few turbines which will create no real value in terms of electrical output, the rural economy or people locally.”