Wind farm plan blown out

Villagers are celebrating after plans to build a wind farm close to Watford Gap were thrown out.

The proposal, which would have seen five 126.5-metre turbines built near the motorway service station, was rejected by the planning committee of Daventry District Council (DDC) last Wednesda.

The councillors stated the plans drawn up by Gamesa would have an unacceptable cumulative landscape and visual impact on Watford.

They also said the development would harm the heritage assets of the Grade II listed Brockhall Lodge, St Peters Church in Watford and Watford Park, outweighing the benefits of the scheme.

There were several complaints from residents about the plans, which have been hanging over them for the past three years.

Key concerns raised included visual impact and the effect on house prices. One of those against the scheme, Yolanda Wilcox from Stopgap, said: “We are delighted with the decision.

“All of us in the village had significant concerns about the cumulative effect the turbines would have both on the village and Brockhall Lodge.

“If this development had been given the go-ahead, they could have eventually have been able to see around 17 turbines on their doorstep.

“It just seems extraordinary that there could be this many turbines.

“However, we are glad that the councillors listened to our concerns and took them into account when making the decision.”

There were originally seven turbines planned for the Watford Gap site but two were dropped by the Spanish energy firm and the plans were resubmitted.

Another wind farm application at Watford Lodge was granted planning permission in 2011 after the German firm Volkswind won an appeal against DDC’s original refusal.

However, the campaigners are less worried that this will happen with regard to the Gamesa application.

Mrs Wilcox added: “There is always a concern that there might be an appeal.

“However the laws with regards to off-shore wind farms are beginning to change. A lot of the work in shifting the perception has been down to our MP Chris Heaton-Harris who has been brilliant.

“For the moment though, we are all delighted with the decision.”