Plans for a controversial 150ft high wind turbine at Thorpe Satchville near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire have been passed four years after it was built – marking the end to a protracted and agonising planning dispute that has plagued the village for years.
The application for the 46 metre (150 ft) tall wind turbine was first submitted in 2012 and blocked by Melton Borough Council, on the grounds of unacceptable landscape harm. But permission was granted on appeal a year later by a government inspector and the turbine was subsequently erected.
Eric Pickles’, the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) refused the turbine after planning appeal decisions were called in.
This decision was reinforced 2 years later in 2015, when Pickles’ successor Secretary Greg Clark overturned the inspector’s decision and blocked – abd yet after that, a subsequent appeal was overruled and Clarks’ decision was quashed by the High Court.
The council’s current emerging Local Plan, which is currently the subject of a public examination, stated that the appeal site was ‘an area of low or low to moderate sensitivity to wind turbine development and turbines of up to 50 metres in height would be acceptable’. Early in 2018, Sajid Javid finally approved it citing “the environmental advantages of the generation of renewable energy and the contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.” and that “it would help diversify farm business, protect employment, provide a sounder financial footing and reduce energy costs.”
Villagers were incensed that such an industrial installation was allowed to be built in an area of unspoilt beauty, when other options already affected by infrastructure, such as along the M1 motorway had not been considered.
The local community now face looking at the looming presence of the wind turbines just a few hundred metres from their homes – an alien feature in the countryside.