A CONTROVERSIAL application to build a huge wind farm east of Andover has been refused.
EDF Energy Renewables wanted to erect 14 turbines near Bullington Cross, where the A303 and A34 trunk roads intersect.
But councillors from three local authorities, including Test Valley, voted to support officers’ recommendations to refuse the application across all three districts.
Winchester city councillor Thérèse Evans said: “The city council has policies on energy but we also have policies on landscapes and, for me, that is the overriding factor.
“This is just the wrong site. They are the way forward and we need to reduce our dependence on other fuels. But I don’t think this is the appropriate site.”
Supporters said that the scheme would act as a boost for the local economy, drawing in £5m in additional rates for the county over the 20 years of the project’s duration, as well as £140,000 per year from EDF for community projects.
If the blades were rotated constantly, the wind farm would have been capable of generating eight per cent of the combined electrical needs of the three districts.
But each blade would have stood as high as the spire of Salisbury Cathedral and be visible from up to 21 miles away, including from two areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Planning officers for all three councils recommended refusal of the application.
In a rare move, members from three planning committees attended the special meeting at Winchester’s Guildhall as the application straddled land overseen by Winchester, Basingstoke and Test Valley councils.
In the run-up to the decision Test Valley received 1,116 letters supporting the scheme, as well as 1,231 letters of objection and a petition signed by 3,081 people.
A demonstration in favour of the development was held before the meeting.
Supporter Alan Walker told the meeting: “I feel that the officers’ report doesn’t make enough of the benefits that may accrue from the development.
“This is an opportunity to improve the lives of the people who live around the wind farm, to establish Hampshire as a leader in community-led renewable energy.”
Among the main objectors were the Ministry of Defence and the nearby Popham Airfield. Joint Helicopter Command said that the development would infringe on an important low-level flying training area, used by Chinooks from RAF Odiham.
An EDF Energy Renewables spokesman said: “We firmly believe the Bullington Cross site is an excellent location for a wind farm. We will now carefully review the grounds for this decision and consider our options going forward.”