Somerby wind turbine appeal is dismissed by planning inspector

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Campaigners are celebrating after an appeal to build a 200ft high wind turbine in Somerby was dismissed by a planning inspector.

Farmer and Melton borough councillor Mark Barnes had challenged Melton Council’s decision to refuse plans to erect the turbine on land at Southfields Farm in Church Lane.

An appeal hearing was held at the council’s Parkside offices on November 19.

And this week planning inspector Philip Major announced his decision to dismiss the appeal.

Explaining his decision, Mr Major said: “I find that the benefits of them proposal are not sufficient to outweigh the significant and demonstrable adverse impacts identified.

“The weight of negative impacts amounts to a clear indication that the proposal should not succeed.”

He added: “In reaching this conclusion I’ve considered all other representations made, including those of Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, and had regard to whether the imposition of conditions would overcome any harm identified. However no other matters are sufficient to affect the balance of my conclusions.”

In respect of the ‘negative impacts’ of the turbine proposal, Mr Major concluded that issues carrying ‘significant weight’ against approval of planning permission were that:

l There would be a significantly harmful impact on the landscape character and the visual quality of the surrounding area.

l There would be likely to be a harmful impact upon the health of a local resident (autistic child who has difficulties with spinning objects).

Mr Major also said although there would be ‘less than substantial harm’ to the setting of heritage assets (including Somerby’s Grade I listed All Saints Church and assets in Owston) the harm identified carried ‘substantial importance and weight’ against the development.

In respect of its impact on amenities enjoyed by users of nearby public rights of way, including the Leicestershire Round, Mr Major agreed there would be a ‘small detrimental impact’ but which carried ‘limited weight’.

In relation to the benefits of the turbine, Mr Major considered its provision of renewable energy (enough electricity to power about 300 homes) and help in combating climate change (reduction of CO2 emissions) were of ‘significant weight’ in its favour. He also deemed the turbine being able to assist farm diversification at Mr Barnes’ existing enterprise was of ‘moderate weight’ in the overall balance of planning issues.