Delight as Rutland wind mast is refused

CAMPAIGNERS who fought plans for a mast at a windfarm site say they are delighted it has been refused.

Rutland County Council’s development control committee turned down the application by SSE Renewables for the 80m high mast on land near Woolfox Airfield, which would have been in place for up to two years to measure wind speeds.

The company would have used the results to make a decision on whether its plan for 22 130m high wind turbines on the old airfield between Stretton, Clipsham and Pickworth, was viable.

People who opposed the plans said they were pleased with the council’s decision.

Miles Williamson-Noble, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of the Stretton, Clipsham and Pickworth Woolfox Steering Group, said: “I don’t wish to second guess what SSE will do next but our biggest concern remains the potential for a windfarm, which we will continue to fight.”

He had told the meeting the mast was “neither essential not appropriate” while Robert Harrison said the “area would be blighted” by the mast.

Officers had recommended approving the mast but said the intention to develop a windfarm should not influence councillors’ decisions.

Coun Terry King (Con) said it was “impossible to separate” the mast application from the windfarm proposal.

SSE project development manager Paul Carvey said: “There’s no point in having a windfarm if there’s insufficient wind.”

He said the mast would not be visible from huge distances as it was only 22cm wide.

Coun Roger Begy (Con), who spoke on behalf of the villages, said there was planning policy on the conservation status of Clipsham and Stretton which was important to consider.

Councillors refused the application by a majority of five to two, citing policy grounds and the impact on the landscape and character of the area.

Mr Carvey said afterwards the decision was “frustrating” and the company was considering what action to take next.