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Wind farm win for residents


Plans for five wind turbines were rejected by district councillors on Tuesday to the delight of campaigners who feared the impact on their villages.

There was applause from a packed public gallery at Kelham Hall when Newark and Sherwood’s planning committee voted, after an hour-long debate, to turn down the application for turbines on former colliery land between Eakring and Bilsthorpe.

The decision came despite the fact the head of planning, Mr Mike Evans, had recommended approval.

The applicants, Harworth Power Ltd and Eakring Farming Ltd, said the five 325ft turbines would have provided enough energy for 5,600 homes.

The chairman of Eakring Turbine Action Group, Mr Paul Doucet, of Back Lane, said they were pleased but surprised with the decision, especially as the recommendation was for approval.

He said they were not against the principle of wind turbines but thought the sites chosen in this case were wrong.

“We hope the issue will now go away. We would like to think that we can get our lives back and live in peace,” he said.

The council received 632 letters of objection but there were 1,072 letters and a 96-name petition in support, from people who said not enough wind farms were being built and action was needed to meet future energy needs.

Eakring and Bilsthorpe parish councils opposed the plan, fearing the detrimental impact on the villages and the views. There were also concerns about noise.

Fifty protesters were out in Eakring on Tuesday awaiting the arrival of district councillors, who conducted a two-hour site visit before making their decision.

Placards saying: “No to wind turbines in Eakring and Bilsthorpe” were put up outside homes and were held by protesters at the junction of Wellow Road and Main Street.

As they arrived the councillors’ coach was momentarily stopped by protesters in the road.

As part of the protest, organised by Eakring Turbine Action Group and Bilsthorpe Residents Against Turbines, two tethered balloons were flown 325ft in the air.

The balloons were at the site of one of the proposed turbines on the outskirts of the village at Mill Hill, near a disused windmill. A public footpath leads to the spot where the turbine would have gone.

Danielle Deakin (19) of Kirklington Road, Eakring, made her protest on the back of her horse, Bailey.

She is studying for a degree in environmental conservation management at Nottingham Trent University and is considering becoming a planning officer when she graduates.

Danielle said the turbines could affect horse riders who used tracks in the area.

“The roads are already dangerous and the tracks would be as well,” she said.

The chairman of Eakring Parish Council, Mrs Marisha Curry, of Back Lane, said the size of the turbines would be equivalent to a 25-storey block of flats with a Boeing 777 spinning on top.

Fellow councillor Mrs Sue Wilson, also of Back Lane, lives 800 yards from one of the proposed turbines.

“I have lived here for 28 years,” she said.

“This is not about house prices, this is our life.”

At the planning meeting Mrs Nora Armstrong spoke as the district councillor for the area and urged colleagues to reject the application.

Mrs Sue Saddington said the impact on the villagers would be intolerable. She said the turbines would be seen from nearby Rufford Country Park and would destroy a beautiful part of the countryside.

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