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Plan for wind turbines in Stone rejected

Aston Lodge

The impression drawn up by residents to show the wind turbines from Aston Parkway

The plan for wind turbines on farmland in Stone was thrown out by Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday evening.

Residents of Aston Lodge had launched a campaign to get the application refused, gathering over 500 signatures and holding public meetings to rally support. They had also drawn up their own impression of what the wind turbines would look like from Aston Lodge (above).

Click HERE to see more details of the planning application and the applicants’ artists’ impressions.

Over 200 campaigners attended the planning committee meeting at County Buildings in Stafford, many waving placards outside the building before the meeting.

The planning committee went against the guidance of council officers, who had recommended that the application be approved, sparking some anger on A Little Bit of Stone’s Facebook page last night.

Cllr Philip Jones had spearheaded the campaign and said he was delighted with the result.

He said this morning: “The planning officer presented slides from the applicant which showed a rolling landscape free of houses and with two tiny wind turbines in the distance. I remarked that we might as well be looking at the plains of Nebraska and straining our eyes to see the turrbines but that the reality was that they were twice the height of the new County Council buildings and merely 440 m from houses.

“Cllr Millichap proposed rejection on the grounds of visual impact not only on Aston Lodge but on the Moddershall Valley. This was seconded by Cllr Edgeller and the on the vote the proposal was unanimously refused.

“The community was amazing in their united determination not to let this happen. I am proud to represent them.

Aston Lodge resident Sally Cartwright was also at the meeting last night. She said today: “Local residents are delighted that common sense has prevailed and that committee members shared our view that these structures would dramatically impact the landscape and local amenity of Aston Lodge Park, Stone town and the surrounding area.

“Given the fact that there had been no pre-consultation by the developer with the local community and a very short and poor consultation by the Council, objectors had successfully pulled together a campaign and a petition on Aston Lodge of some 500 signatures. A fantastic result, democracy in action. The voice of the people has been heard.”

Some Stone residents reacted with anger on our Facebook page last night that the application had been thrown out. You can see a flavour of the discussion – heated at times – in the widget below. Just click the Comments button…

It is not yet known if the applicant plans to appeal.

6 comments

  1. What a shame its rejected, we need this alternative power , I believe there are other plans for turbines near stone, maybe they will get the go ahead. a far bigger threat to our environment are these ill considered housing development plans that are springing up all over Staffordshire….

  2. Hi les. Its possibly great that the application is dead in the water for now. How do you feel about the farmland being submitted for future housing provision totaling 840 homes. The submission was made in march this year

  3. Hi Gemma I suggest you read, in detail, the Secretary of State’s guidance on wind turbines (published July 29th 2013) and his follow up directive to the Planning Inspectorate and to Local Authorities. If you do you will see that it is the COUNCIL OFFICERS who have wrongly interpreted planning law. it is they that have given wrong advice to Councillors.

    Also you need to understand democracy. It is ELECTED Councillors who make decisions, informed ones I may add.

    If this goes to appeal then the lack of application of the law by officers will be reason for rejection too.

    you should read in addition the landmark High Court ruling by Mrs Justice Lang in 2012 which defined once and for all that national policies on renewables do not have precedence over local landscape policies.

    Add to this the fact that wind turbines only exist due to massive subsidies forced by surcharges onto ordinary consumers and you have endless grounds for objection.

    Suggest you stand up and be counted instead of thinking council officers, who are public servants, know everything.

  4. Let educated people make the planning decisions rather than the current situation where members (more concerned about votes) pander to nimbyism.

  5. As I understand it the application was rejected by members against an officers recommendation for approval. Given that an officer has recommended an application for approval, this would suggest that the application is in accordance with planning policy, there are no technical or environmental issues why permission shouldn’t be granted and based on planning balance the scheme should be approved. In light of this, I would expect the applicant to appeal and win. Depending upon the reasons provided by members they may also go for costs against the council. This is where the applicant, if successful, gets reimbursed by the Council (taxpayers) for all their appeal costs.

    A simple freedom of information request will prove that in most appeals where members have gone against officers are allowed. Do people really expect council members that have no knowledge of the supporting material that informs a planning application to make properly informed decision. Members make decisions based on what ‘appears’ to be a popular vote in order to get re-elected.

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