Sparks fly over Wickersley green belt battery plans

By Gareth Dennison | 25/01/2018

Sparks fly over Wickersley green belt battery plans
Wickersley Parish councillors, Andrew Bates, Peter Thirlwall and Maggie Godfrey, at the site near Moat Lane where they helped fight off a proposed battery facility. 180070-2

OBJECTORS successfully switched off proposals for an electricity storage facility on green belt land.

But planning board members approved a second, similar battery project a few hundred yards away.

Wickersley Parish Council had objected to both green belt plans.

Cllr Peter Thirlwall said: “Some people seem to think that because we’re northerners and we’re in Rotherham, that we’ll put up with any old rubbish they want to impose on us.

“For the last 200 years, the industrial centres around this country have suffered from the blight caused by coal mines, slag heaps, steelworks, polluted landscapes and rivers.

“Rotherham, in particular, has suffered more than most and the only areas remaining that are pretty, are the small areas of green belt. 

“Because of the above, our prices in Rotherham are cheaper than many other areas and as a consequence we are targeted by developers of such schemes as these, whose main objectives are profit and not the protection of the environment.”

The EDF Energy Renewables application was to provide 50MW of battery storage on a site off Moat Lane in Wickersley. This was rejected seven votes to four at a planning meeting.

The second plan, from Thurcroft Energy Ltd, proposed 25 containers each storing 2MW of electricity at Green Lane in Thurcroft. It was approved by six votes to five.

There had been 15 objections to the Wickersley plan and nine for the Thurcroft one.

Parish councillor Maggie Godfrey said: “It’s important to appreciate the scale of these developments. Each site is large enough to accommodates 20 houses or more.

“The Moat Lane site is a particularly open and rural appearance and would have been particularly intrusive when seen by anyone using that part of the lane for walking.”

And Cllr Andrew Bates added: “It’s wholly unacceptable to have these type of facilities in a green belt that’s already been nibbled away at by domestic developments.

“This belongs on a brownfield site. 

“This is actually an application to form some sort of income for the heirs of the land, not so much as a means of putting battery packs in to do the country some good.”

After the meeting at Rotherham Town Hall, Cllr Thirlwall said it was disappointing that the planning board had not rejected both applications.

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