CONTROVERSIAL plans to erect a giant wind turbine in a picturesque corner of St Helens will destroy the most unspoilt part of the local countryside, say protesters.
Proposals to erect a 40-metre tall wind turbine at Promised Land farm in Crank has got villagers hot under the collar.
Including its giant 26-metre blades, the planned £800,000-plus turbine would reach to a staggering total height of 66 metres - more than three times the height of the landmark Dream statue.
Alan Abbott, who runs neighbouring Fir Tree Farm alongside his wife Edwina, claims the mast would be so tall that it could be seen from Liverpool.
He said: “Originally they wanted the turbine to be 50 metres tall, but they withdrew that. Now they’ve just resubmitted the plans though, reducing it to a 40-metre mast. But it would still be so tall that it could be seen from miles away.
“This area is surrounded by public footpaths but people might not want to walk around here if these plans went ahead. They’re planning to put the turbine in the middle of a field adjacent to our conservation area too. There’s all sorts of rare species of birds in there.”
Mr Abbott is now helping to co-ordinate a protest campaign against the proposals, which are likely to be considered by St Helens Council’s planning committee next month.
He plans to organise a meeting for concerned residents at Fir Tree Farm later this month.
Mr Abbott added: “This plan is a purely commercial exercise. It’s about trying to make money. But the energy that a wind turbine like this would generate would be negligible compared to the massive impact it would have on the area as a whole.
“The is one of the most unspoilt areas in the entire region. Not only would the turbine itself be unwelcome, but the whole area would be turned into a building site and new roads would have to be built too.”
Applicant Karl Spratt, who owns Promised Land farm, claimed the turbine was only “small to medium in scale” but said he understood residents’ concerns and had made efforts to mitigate them.
He said: “I appreciate residents’ comments about it affecting their visual amenity, but we’re positioning it on the lowest part of our land.
“This turbine would generate renewable power which would make the farm fully energy independent and, obviously, there is a commercial aspect too.
“In essence, we’re trying to create the power we need to diversify our farm, which will ultimately equate to more local jobs.”