The town’s second biggest employer has said bosses are disappointed after the council took the decision to reject their green plans.
On Thursday night, Swindon Council’s planning committee rejected Honda’s plans to put up three large wind turbines on its South Marston site.
It said the visual impact would be to much.
The manufacturing giant is now going back to the drawing board and has not yet said whether it will be appealing the decision. Bosses are to hold a series of meetings to decide what to do next.
A Honda spokesman said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the decision. Honda remains committed to delivering a mix of renewable energy technologies.
“However, we will now reflect on the stance made by the Swindon Council Planning Committee and the concerns raised by the local community, before discussing it with Ecotricity and deciding on our next steps.”
Coun Dale Heenan, the chairman of the planning committee, says the council wants to work with Honda in its quest to reduce its carbon footprint in the future.
But he said the impact on the residents was too big to allow the wind turbines to go ahead.
He said: “It is a democratically elected committee who makes these decisions and we are elected to make the tough decisions.
“Every month the committee makes unpopular decisions and on this occasion we have agreed that the plans are inappropriate development.
“Last night I wanted to make one important point that the Swindon Council and local MPs need to do everything we can to reassure Honda that they do have a future in the town.
“We need to do everything to support them in their green energy strategy.
“There were a number of factors involved in the decision but it was taken on legal grounds, and after taking everyone’s views into account.
“Beyond doubt there would be a visual impact on the town.
“Swindon is open for businesses and we do want to be part of a green revolution but businesses need to be good neighbours to local residents.
“We are here to make tough decisions. This won’t be the end of the matter and we want to reassure Honda that we can work with them.”
Nearly 500 people turned up to the meeting at the Wyvern Theatre and the majority were against the plans.
They held up signs and banners expressing their concerns and Andy West, 45, of Stratton, a member of the Ill Wind pressure group, said he was surprised by the decision but was not surprised at the strength of opposition from the local people.
He said: “It was absolutely brilliant. The thing about last night was that people from all across the community, young and old, different business backgrounds, ward councillors, everybody came together to say no to these plans.
“It was a good day to be a Swindon person.
“Going into the meeting I didn’t know how the decision was going to go but from the start of the meeting and Coun Tomlinson’s speech I felt it might be going in our favour.
“I hope this is the end of it. Honda have seen the absolute strength of opinion against it and will go away and reconsider their actions, but I don’t think Ecotricity will go away so easily.
“In the event they appeal residents will continue to fight against the application.
“There are an awful lot of people in the area who want to support Honda in their bid to be more green but they want to support alternative means.”
- Advertiser – Council says no to wind turbines (southmarston.org.uk)
- Swindon Advertiser – Ill Wind slam Honda’s compromise plans (southmarston.org.uk)