Heavens above! Church’s shock after UK’s tallest wind turbine is built on its land

How the turbine measures up, and, below, councillors Huxley, Vick and Adams
How the turbine measures up, and, below, councillors Huxley, Vick and Adams

The Church of England has hit out at the construction of the largest wind turbine in Britain on their land.

The structure, which is 149 metres tall, is located between Aylesbury’s newest housing estates of Berryfields and Buckingham Park on land owned by Oxford Diocese and leased to developer Arnold White Estates.

The new wind turbine at Quarrendon fields between Buckingham Park and Berryfields - seen from the Western Link road - pictured are Andy Huxley, David Vick and Chris Adams

The new wind turbine at Quarrendon fields between Buckingham Park and Berryfields - seen from the Western Link road - pictured are Andy Huxley, David Vick and Chris Adams

It is the tallest in the UK, a full 25 metres higher than other on shore wind turbines.

The turbine was originally included in plans the church submitted jointly with Arnold White for 1,337 homes which were refused on appeal, although the inspector did rule the turbine could go ahead.

However, the diocese says it does not support the building of the turbine without the homes, despite its name being on all planning applications and appeal documents – including the separate application which asked for just the turbine in 2012.

The church, which will get a cut of the turbine’s profits, held crisis talks with the developers, but were told that the cost of seeking planning permission would have to be recouped, and the plans would stay in place.

David Mason, director of glebe and buildings for the diocese, said: “The Diocese of Oxford is aware that a wind turbine is to be built on a piece of land east of the Berryfields development.

“This land is owned by the Diocese, but in the hands of Arnold White Estates with whom we have a binding promotion agreement.

“While we are aware that we urgently need to find new forms of ‘green’ power in an increasingly energy-hungry age, we remain surprised that the planning inspector gave permission for the wind turbine in isolation, as it was always intended to serve the new housing.

“We acknowledge that wind turbines are not popular with everyone. However, Arnold White Estates have now served notice on us to grant a lease of the relevant parcel of land, and we are legally bound to do this.”

UKIP councillor for the area Chris Adams said: “People are going to go absolutely berserk over this.

“This nasty monstrosity is going to scar the landscape – you can see it for 10 miles around. I’ve had one lady up there crying her eyes out.

“There wasn’t a proper consultation where pamphlets were handed out or exhibitions where you could see the plans.”

District councillor David Vick, who represents nearby Waddesdon and was part of the fierce opposition to the initial application in 2010, said: “Those opposing the turbine and housing were successful in persuading AVDC planning to reject both.Unfortunately all this hard work was undone by the overruling and arbitrary decision to proceed with the wind turbine.”

The turbine has been manufactured by German-based firm Vensys Energy and the three sails measuring 87m long each were finally lifted into place yesterday morning.

Developers Arnold White, which is based in Leighton Buzzard, was contacted but the firm would not comment on the development.