MEMBERS of Ashbourne’s planning authority fear more applications to erect wind turbines in the area could flood in after they approved two projects in the same meeting.
Work is due to start on the massive Carsington Pastures wind farm in May, which will see four 100m turbines built near Carsington and plans to build a fifth turbine nearby were given the green light at a meeting last week.
Although planning officers for the Derbyshire Dales District Council insist each application will be made on its own individual merits, members of the Southern Area Planning Committee say they expect more people will be investing in lucrative wind energy over the coming years.
At the meeting on Tuesday evening members discussed and then voted to approve the construction of a 102m wind turbine in Manystones Lane, Brassington for manufacturing firm Viaton Industries.
Although no objections were made by families living in the shadow of the proposed wind turbine, Brassington Parish Council, representing villagers, said there was “little appetite” among residents to engage in “what seems to be a foregone conclusion.” Planners fear that, as with the Carsington Pastures Wind Farm, if they were to refuse the application their decision could be over-turned on appeal and they might have to cover the legal costs.
Although some of the 16 members of the committee were against another massive wind turbine being erected in a remote spot by a small rural community, they confessed to feeling “powerless” and only two members voted against approval.
Debating wind turbines in general during the meeting, some members questioned the economic benefits and overall sustainability of the machines — suggesting that applications might cease if down the line, it was found that wind energy was ineffective.
Also approved at the meeting, held in Ashbourne Leisure Centre’s Community Room, was a smaller project to erect a 27.1m turbine at Gate Farm in Sturston for Vernon Pilkington.
During discussion Ashbourne’s deputy mayor and district councillor Steve Bull voiced his fears over setting a precedent with the Ashbourne turbine and warned residents “could end up with a ridge of them” looking over Ashbourne.
Despite fears that the turbine would be visible from much of Ashbourne’s town centre it was also voted in by a majority of members with only two voting against the plan.
WHAT do you think? Is it time Ashbourne embraced wind energy as a way of decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels? Or are wind turbines simply an unsightly economic non-starter? Please get in touch with your views.