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Fewcott wind turbines application

Monday, 12 November 2012 13:03

In November 2008, Bolstertone plc announced a proposal to build a £10m wind farm on farmland between Fewcott and Fritwell, near Bicester, consisting of four 125 metre (400 feet) turbines, a control building and access, adjacent to the M40, close to Cherwell Valley Services.

Bolsterstone considers Fewcott to be a good location, claiming that it has good wind speed, no problems with aviation or communications links, is close to a grid connection, is an accessible site, not in a designated protected area, and there would be limited visual impact.

We opposed the proposal, arguing that not only would it be an unacceptable blight on the surrounding countryside, but wind speeds are too low for the turbines to produce enough electricity to justify the damage caused. In January 2009, we submitted our comments to Cherwell District Council on Bolsterstone's planning application, calling for it to be refused.

In April 2009, Cherwell District Council’s planning committee voted unanimously against its own officer's recommendation, and refused approval.

In November 2009, Bolsterstone appealed the decision and it went to a Public Inquiry in the spring of 2010. We were represented at the Public Inquiry, where we made our case against the proposed wind farm.

In July 2010, however, the planning inspector gave the go-ahead to the wind farm. He acknowledged that there would be a degree of harm caused to the landscape, the built environment and local villages, but concluded that this would be outweighed by the benefits.

Both we and local campaigners were extremely disappointed at the outcome. We see this as a major test of policy on wind turbines in Oxfordshire and are extremely concerned it will pave the way for other large turbines in the open countryside, and a flood of similar applications up and down the M40.

Unfortunately, the only way forward now would be to take this to the High Court, which is an expensive route to take, especially for a charity like CPRE and the other objectors, when there is no guarantee of success.

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