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Churchover Parish Council's Objection

SUMMARY OF CHURCHOVER PARISH COUNCIL’S OBJECTIONS

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EXTRACTS FROM RECENT PLANNING INSPECTORS’ APPEAL DECISIONS
REFUSING COMPARABLE WINDFARMS IN COMPARABLE LOCATIONS

“… the outlook from the whole of this small community would be dominated by their unavoidable presence, whether seen as a complete cluster, individually or just in glimpses of moving blades. In this case it is the spread of the turbines rather than their height that would, in my judgment, be so visually invasive as to make the settlement a less satisfactory place in which to live than it is now...”

“…unavoidable and, in my estimation, unpleasantly overwhelming presence of rotating turbines spreading both horizontally and vertically across a substantial proportion of their main outward field of view. By comparing the turbine spacing to the distance from these properties, I again liken that to conveying the impression of living in or at a wind farm, rather than simply having a turbine cluster close by…”

“…a unique and particularly compelling importance attaches to maintaining the peace and tranquillity of [churches’] surrounds and the quality of views to, from and of them that are religiously, socially, architecturally, historically or visually important to the community…”

“…turbines this near could, I consider, be found so pervasive as to disrupt those seeking solace in quiet contemplation, particularly directly after bereavement, and I would come to a similar view whether exercising my Section 66(1) duty or not…”

“…and with little or nothing by way of intervening screening, it is my conclusion that living conditions would be demonstrably harmed by significant and over-dominant visual impact...”

“…the low but clearly identifiable tower of the Church is a significant landmark in itself, enabling the eye to alight easily on other visible parts of the settlement and providing a clear reference for the scale of buildings within it. The turbine cluster would effectively become a broad and eye-catching backdrop to this charmingly arcadian scene. The contrast in height, modernity and character between these very different structures in such close juxtaposition would, I consider, be jarring…”

“...would result in the loss of prominence of the spire from the surrounding area. The proposed turbine would be dominant in views of the Church spire…, which would be lost behind the turbine or at least dwarfed...”

“… its vertical scale and blade sweep would have an harmful impact on, and fail to preserve the setting of the Church contrary to the general duty in section 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990…”

“…I conclude that this tall, rotating structure would be overwhelming, obtrusive and unavoidable to the residents of these properties such that their amenities would be unacceptably impaired...”

 “…I consider the panorama of rotating turbines would be overwhelming, obtrusive and unavoidable to the residents of these properties...”

“… the consequences here would amount to far more than a loss of a view; the outcome would inevitably be the creation of unacceptable living conditions...” 


SUMMARY GROUNDS OF OBJECTION

Visual Impact

The proposed development would have an unacceptable visual impact upon residents, walkers and other users of the village and rural environment. The turbines would be as little as 430m from individual dwellings, and 850-1200m from the majority of the ‘old’ village. They would be as little as 730m from many gardens.

The visual effects of the turbines would be unavoidable and unpleasantly overwhelming, aggravated by their eye-catching rotation. They would occupy a substantial proportion of the main outward field of view of large numbers of properties. Essentially the whole of this small community would be dominated by their unavoidable presence, whether seen as a complete cluster, individually or just in glimpses of moving blades.

As such the development would fail to comply with PPS1 Delivering Sustainable Development 2005, paragraphs 1, 3, 4, 5, 17, 19 and 27(ix); RSS West Midlands 2008 Spatial Strategy Objective paragraph 3.14; Rugby Borough Local Plan 2006 The Vision, The Strategy, and policies GP1, GP5, E1, E2, E5 and E17; and Rugby Core Strategy 2011, Spatial Vision, Spatial Vision 11 and policy CS14.

Heritage Assets

The proposed development would fail to protect and enhance the historic environment or the countryside, destroying the setting of listed buildings and in particular Holy Trinity, by dwarfing its 25m spire with 126.5m windfarms within 850m. A unique and particularly compelling importance attaches to maintaining the peace and tranquillity of the surroundings and the quality of views to, from and of churches that are religiously, socially, architecturally, historically or visually important to the community.

The vertical scale and blade sweep would have a harmful impact on, and fail to preserve the setting of the church, and the conservation area. It would also damage important archaeological features.

As such, it would fail to comply with the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 s.66 and ss.69-73; PPS1 Delivering Sustainable Development 2005 paragraphs 5 and17; PPS5 Planning for the Historic Environment 2010 policies HE1.3, 1.3, 7.2, 7.4, 9.1, 9.2, 9.4, 9.6 and 10.1; RSS West Midlands 2008, policies QE5 and QE6; Rugby Borough Local Plan 2006 policy E17; and Rugby Core Strategy 2011 Spatial Vision, Chapter 6 and policy CS14.

Landscape

The development would produce an unacceptable change in the landscape, and far exceed the landscape capacity of the area as assessed independently by the White report (adopted by the Borough Council as material to planning decisions). In cumulation with two other windfarm developments, totalling 15 turbines and all easily visible from Churchover, there would be a domination of 1800 of landscape around the village by turbines, destroying landscape character, quality and the amenity of daily life. It would also conflict with Green Belt policy and no very special circumstances have been shown.

As such, the development would be contrary to PPS1 Delivering Sustainable Development 2005 paragraphs 1, 4, 17, 19 and 27(ix); PPG2 Green Belts 1995 paragraphs 3.2 and 3.15; PPS7 Renewable Energy Key Principle 1, paragraphs 15 and 24 ;RSS West Midlands 2008 Spatial Strategy Objective paragraph 3.14; Rugby Borough Local Plan 2006 The Vision, The Strategy and policies GP1, GP5 , E1, E2, E5 and E17; and Rugby Core Strategy 2011 Spatial Vision, Spatial Vision 11 and policy CS14.

Other environmental impacts

The development fails to ensure an acceptable noise climate both indoors and outdoor at dwellings as close as 430m (with micro-siting) and no planning condition to secure noise control can be effective. No analysis of low-frequency noise (for which Churchover is already at proven risk) has been presented, nor has any health impact analysis been undertaken. Noise (and certain other) planning conditions are likely to fail the tests of Circular 11/95 and yet, without them, no such development could be acceptable. They would therefore become unenforceable and provide no protection for residents.

The impacts on public rights of way will be unacceptable, turbines being as close as 75m from PROWs. Other peaceful enjoyment of the countryside will be interfered with or prevented, including equestrianism and angling.

The “temporary” nature of the development, 25 years, is illusory, cannot be ensured and is therefore not a material planning consideration.

The development is not consistent with Government objectives to maintain reliable and competitive energy supplies, nor is it viable as it depends solely on subsidy. As such, it fails all the fundamental tests of PPS22. It will deliver no employment after construction, and virtually none during it.

Overall, Churchover Parish Council concludes that the need for the development is minimal and is clearly outweighed by its adverse environmental impacts. As such, planning permission should be refused.