A power company’s appeal against the decision last year to reject its plans for a wind turbine in Stone will be decided on by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Hallmark Power’s application was unanimously refused by Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee in May 2014 following a campaign by people living near the proposed site of the 272-metre turbine in Cotwalton, close to the Aston Lodge estate. It was Hallmark Power’s second attempt to get permission – an application for two wind turbines at the site was rejected in November 2013.
After Hallmark lodged its appeal, Stone MP Sir Bill Cash MP wrote to the Secretary of State, Greg Clark MP, to request that he recover the planning appeal. Minister for Local Government Marcus Jones MP has now confirmed that the Secretary of State will be ruling on Hallmark Power’s appeal.
In a letter to Sir Bill, Mr Jones wrote: “Following your request to Rt Hon Greg Clark in May, I am writing to let you know that I have decided to recover the above appeal, as I think that the issues it raises are such that the appeal should be determined by the Secretary of State. The Planning Inspectorate has been asked to take the necessary action to inform the appeal parties.
“I am sure you will understand that I cannot make any comment on the merits of the appeal as I must not prejudice consideration of the Inspector’s report in due course. I should also add that recovery of the appeal cannot be seen as an indicator to the way it will ultimately be decided – the decision will be taken on the facts of the case.”
You can see the planning application that was refused in May 2014 HERE. A planning statement supplied to the council by Hallmark’s Stephen Bate said the turbine would have “no adverse impact on landscape character, residential amenity, heritage assets or ecology features”.
Local people disagreed. Steve Potts, a chartered electrical engineer who lives in Oulton, said the turbine “will have a negative impact on an area of wonderful natural beauty so close to the Moddershall Valley conversation area”. Another objector said: “It will be visible from a wide area, not just Oulton village but Kibblestone, Moddershall, Cotwalton, Airdale Spinney and adjacent hillsides and valley locations”.