Row blows up over Shropshire wind turbines 'support'

A row has erupted over claims made about the number of supporters who backed plans to build two wind turbines.

Row blows up over Shropshire wind turbines 'support'

Plans for the 77m high turbines at Criddon Hall Farm, near Upton Cressett, Bridgnorth, were removed last week.

The turbines had been recommended for refusal by Shropshire Council officers and were due to go before councillors.

Shropshire Council had received more than 820 public comments about the plans, put forward by Sharenergy, which were set to go before the south planning committee in Shirehall.

Sharenergy Co-operative and Sustainable Bridgnorth, which were behind the plans, claimed 300 local people had supported the plans.

But campaigners have vehemently denied those claims and said just two people within a two-kilometre radius had backed the proposals.

William Cash, chairman of Stop Bridgnorth Wind Farm campaign, said: "Almost all the support came from outside Shropshire, with email blasts to renewable energy activists in the north of England and Scotland providing much of the so called 'support'.

"It was disingenuous of Sharenergy to claim that this was local support when the very opposite was the case.

"In no way were the turbines a 'community' backed project'.

"It was also not accurate for Sharenergy to claim the council had no issues relating to road, bats, transport, ecology and access.

"A road and transport survey conducted by the UK's leading transport planning consultant, Phil Jones Associates, found there were major issues with access and transport that should have meant the project being refused permission on transport and access grounds."

Sharenergy has said it may decide to resubmit the planning application but Mr Cash said the campaign group would be using lawyers to seek much more detailed new surveys if such a move was made.

He said: "The surveys would not just be on heritage, which English Heritage and other bodies are not going to change their mind over, but also ecology, road transport and access and bats, all of which were not dealt with satisfactorily in the submitted reports.

"We will be ensuring the council planning officers concerned are given copies of our full and comprehensive reports on each area.

"We will be asking them to comment in detail on the expert reports which have been compiled not by "desk top" technicians on the internet, but by leading experts in their field, often by firms who work for government in advising them on planning matters."

Eithne George, from Sharenergy, said: "We stand by our original comments about local support for this project.

"Some of that is from across the county, as were some of the objections, but that shows that renewable energy is a broader issue, which many people in Shropshire are keen to see happen.

"There is plenty of support from the immediate local area too.

"We know from the public events we ran and feed back forms that people provided, but not everyone wants to take on the force of the objectors' campaign and many people are busy with families and work."

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