Appeal to build four wind turbines in the Berkeley Vale is dismissed

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating a long-awaited victory in their battle to stop four giant wind turbines being built in the Berkeley Vale.

An independent planning inspector yesterday dismissed Ecotricity's appeal for four 120-metre high wind turbines near Stinchcombe, which they had originally applied for in August 2010.

The application had been refused by Stroud District Council’s planning committee in April 2011.

The Stroud-based environmental company appealed against the decision in June and the ensuing inquiry met and adjourned several times this year to consider all the information.

Independent inspector Richard Thomas took part in a site visit on September 4, visiting the proposed location at Standle Farm, near the M5 and A38, and revealed the outcome of the inquiry yesterday.

In his report, Mr Thomas said: "There is a clearly expressed need for renewable energy and the proposed development would make a modest contribution towards satisfying it, as well as making a small contribution to local employment.

"There are no significant objections to the proposal in terms of noise, public safety or shadow flicker that could not be successfully overcome by suitable conditions."

However, Mr Thomas added: "There would be substantial harm to the settings of Stinchcombe Conservation Area and the church of St Cyr, and to that of Berkeley Castle, a Grade 1 listed heritage asset, also of national importance."

In summary, Mr Thomas said that together with the effect on living conditions of certain residential occupiers, the cumulative harm was of such magnitude that it outweighed the benefits of the proposal.

He added: "Due to their height and moving blades they would have a very significant impact, towering above the horizon from many viewpoints."

Jack Sant, spokesman for campaign group Save Berkeley Vale, said they were pleased that the appeal had been dismissed.

"We have always thought it was an inappropriate location for wind turbines so close to places such as the Prince of Wales," he said.

However Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said he thought it was the wrong decision and a blow to renewable energy in Gloucestershire.

"We are surprised and disappointed by the inspector’s decision," he said.

"We still believe Berkeley Vale is absolutely an appropriate place for four windmills and we were confident that our plans satisfied all conditions and constraints."

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