CAMPAIGNERS were able to breathe a sigh of relief as controversial proposals to build three 120 metre wind turbines were not given the go ahead last night.
Councillors on the Swindon Council planning committee voted seven against six for a motion to defer the application from Honda and sustainable energy firm Ecotricity for another month.
This will allow officers to provide more evidence in relation to the objections of ward councillors and residents.
Coun Dale Heenan (Con, Covingham and Nythe) proposed the motion to defer after hearing from representatives of Ecotricity, Honda and local residents.
He requested the council planning department produce a report setting out the legal grounds for refusal of the application.
“I don’t think we have the information to make a considered view,” he said.
Grant Macpherson, a director of Honda UK, said he hoped the application would be granted as it would help the firm achieve environmental targets.
He said: “The target for Honda in Swindon is a further reduction in CO2 emissions by 24 per cent by 2020. Some may say the application is controversial but all of us at some point are going to have to accept our responsibilities.”
Opposition to the plan has grown since it was announced last summer, with campaigners saying that each electricity-generating turbine would be almost the size of the 135m London Eye Ferris wheel.
Last night more than 100 people with ‘No’ placards gathered in the council chamber at the Civic Offices, in Euclid Street, to hear the decision.
Hazel Beaver, a South Marston resident and member of protest group Ill Wind, asked the committee to consider residents’ feeling against the proposal, saying: “Please recognise the strength of local opposition.
“We have got over 1,800 names on a petition and there have been nearly 400 personal letters sent to the planning department.
“We want Swindon Council to play safe with its residents’ health.”
Coun Russell Holland (Con, St Margaret) said that if the committee were to grant planning permission it would open the doors to other wind turbine applications.
He said: “You would be setting a precedent here. As long as you have conditions you can build them where ever you want.
“It’s wrong for Swindon and the recommendations are built on shaky conditions. The residents are clearly right.”