by Gavin Moore
Villagers fear the unspoilt character of the south Northants countryside could be lost forever if plans for two windfarms are successful.
This week around 180 people attended an exhibition at Marston St Lawrence Village Hall to view proposals by Broadview UK for a small wind farm of around five turbines at Spring Farm Ridge between Helmdon and Brackley.
Villagers in Weston and Sulgrave are also fighting plans for nine turbines between their two communities, proposed by Enertrag UK.
John Jarman from Weston is a member of the Sulgrave and Weston Windfarm Action Group and siad: ‘Quite simply it is an unspoilt part of the countryside.
‘There are no pylons, there’s no major manmade structures which inhibit the view, and if you go down to the disused railway cutting it is actually quite a unique wildlife site.
Mr Jarman said owls, badgers and roe deer would all be affected by the wind farm and added: ‘Buzzards have only just moved into the area in the last five years, my guess is they would disappear again.’
Mr Jarman said some of the masts could end up just a few hundred metres from his home and pointed at guidelines in Scotland and France which call for a buffer of between one and two kilometres.
He added: ‘If it were next to a main road or next to an industrial area, personally I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But a 125m monster sat in this part of the country would be very disappointing.’
Colin Wootton from Sulgrave and SWWAG secretary said: ’With the second proposal we are now talking about up to 15 tubines, each over 125m in length, two and half times the height of Nelson’s Column in an arc east to west, all of which will be seen from Sulgrave which is in a conservatrion area with a historic and internationally famous manor house, an ancient monument in the Sulgrave Castle. It is quintessential English landscape which is under threat.
Lisa Ross, community relations manager for Broadview UK said they were keen to be as open and possible and would be organsiing further exhibitions as well as a trip to an operational wind farm near Kettering.
A planning application for a 60m high test mast for the Broadview proposal is due to be discussed by South Northants Council next Thursday, March 11.
Spokesmen for both companies said a great deal of survey work and environmental studies were still to be completed but they were hoping to submit planning applications by the end of the year.
Banbury Guardian – 5 March 2010