AN APPEAL has been formally lodged by the company behind plans to build four 127-metre high wind turbines near Oldbury.

Wind Prospect was refused permission by South Gloucestershire Council in March after the wind farm application received a swell of opposition from residents.

Local people claimed the site was inappropriate and concerns were also raised about its visual impact and its proximity to nearby villages.

However, the company has now formally lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales, which works on behalf of the Government.

The appeal means the application will now be re-examined and an independent planning inspector will decide whether or not to overturn the council’s refusal. The process is likely to take several months but could be decided by the autumn.

Sophie Nioche, development manager at Wind Prospect, said the company still believed that Stoneyard Lane, near Oldbury, was an appropriate site for the wind farm.

She said: "We believe we have a strong case for appeal and that the planning officer’s recommendation for approval should have been upheld. The officer’s report showed that our application was robust and met local and national planning objectives.

"We recognise that the decision by the council reflected opinions of some people in the local community and that wind farms do have some localised impacts but these need to be balanced with the national need for renewable energy, particularly in the light of rising fuel costs and issues around energy security."

Campaigners against the wind farm told the Gazette they would continue the fight.

Alex Soffe, who lives just 700 metres from the proposed wind farm, said: "The council is going to have to defend its decision and we hope that they will do that in a suitably robust way.

"We will carry on because we believe it is still the wrong development."