THE energy company behind the Lower Loxley wind turbine application have slammed the borough council’s recent decision on the Bramshall turbine, suggesting they are ‘appeasing’ community interest groups, making planning policy 'on the hoof' and 'refusing' renewable energy schemes.
The application put in by Hallmark Power Limited for a wind turbine at Bramshall was strongly contested by local interest group Bramshall Against Turbines, which - in part - led to the rejection of the proposal by East Staffordshire Borough Council.
The renewable energy company are now considering appealing the decision.
The same action group who opposed the Bramshall turbine have now put in more than 1,000 signatures opposing the latest wind turbine application by Hallmark Power Limited in Lower Loxley.
Stephen Bate, planning manager at Hallmark Power Limited said: “Hallmark Power were naturally disappointed with the outcome of the Bramshall application, particularly the fact that the council did not engage with us before issuing the decision and did not give us the opportunity to put our case to the planning committee.
“We are currently considering all options, including a possible appeal.
“Secondly, concerning the claims made by local residents that we are 'disregarding the views of the local community'. This perhaps shows a disregard of the planning process from those residents.
"Planning decisions should not be made solely to pacify local interest groups, they have to be made to reflect national and local planning policies.
“The council do not appear to have taken into account the more recent “Planning practice guidance for renewable and low carbon energy”, published in July 2013.
“This policy guidance confirms the national principles that increasing the amount of energy from renewable technologies will help to make sure the UK has a secure energy supply, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow down climate change and stimulate investment in new jobs and businesses.
“The guidance reiterates that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires all communities to have a responsibility to help increase the use and supply of green energy.
“It states that community concerns should be properly addressed through local and neighbourhood plans.
“Rather than adopting a local plan policy, the council currently appear to be appeasing community interest groups by making planning policy “on the hoof” and refusing all renewable energy schemes.
“This process is not good planning practice.
“Rather than complaining about developers disregarding their views, the community interest groups should be lobbying their council to adopt a proper policy concerning renewable energy proposals, otherwise there is a strong likelihood that the refusals will count for nothing at appeal.”
An East Staffordshire Borough Council spokesman said: “Each application is considered on its merits, and the issues vary depending on the scale and location of the turbine.
“However, the key considerations in the determination of a planning application for a turbine are generally landscape and visual impact, impact on residential amenity through noise and shadow flicker, impact on ecology - in particular birds and bats.
“Issues such as devaluation of property and the amount of electricity generated are not material planning considerations and cannot be given significant weight in the determination of any application.”