CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build a wind turbine “just a few feet shorter than Big Ben” near a country park in Caerphilly county borough have been rejected.

The Sirius Group had planned to site a 93-metre, or 305-foot-high, turbine at Durisol’s base at the Pen-y-Fan industrial estate near Crumlin.

The turbine was originally set to be 113 metres high, but the plans were met with objections from residents and Caerphilly council.

Two petitions against the turbine were signed by 128 residents, along with 37 letters of objection – including one from Islwyn AM Rhianon Passmore.

A revised application was met with similar opposition when Caerphilly council’s planning committee met on August 17.

The meeting heard concerns from residents regarding shadow flicker, the flickering effect caused when rotating turbine blades periodically cast shadows through the windows of nearby properties.

Labour councillor Carl Thomas had concerns about the overbearing nature of the turbine, even with the reduced height, on Pen-y-Fan Pond.

“The turbine will have an effect on the ambience of the pond. It will be just a few feet shorter than Big Ben in London,” he said.

Labour councillor Walter Williams, in agreement, said the turbine would cause “undue harm” to the enjoyment of the country park.

Cllr Williams added: “The three large existing turbines nearby are the dominant feature of the skyline as far away as Blackwood. Harm will exceed any renewable energy benefit.”

But Nick Davies, of the Sirius Group, said such developments would help in the fight against climate change, which he described as the “biggest threat” to the global economy.

Mr Davies added that the turbine would support businesses on the Pen-y-Fan industrial estate in reducing their emissions, a target for the owner of a neighbouring factory who wrote in support of the application.

Mr Davies said: “This turbine will be visible from some locations, however since the original application, we've listened to feedback and reduced the height of the proposed turbine making if significantly less visible and quiet."

The meeting heard that the turbines could be programmed to eliminate shadow flicker, but Plaid Cymru councillor Mike Adams remained sceptical.

“It’s tricky, as the council supports renewable energy,” said Cllr Adams.

“But I’m concerned about Pen-y-Fan park. It is in the council’s development for future regeneration, and too many of these turbines could affect our long term aims.”

Cllr Adams moved that the application be rejected due to the potential harm of shadow flicker, a "saturation" of wind turbines in the locality and visual and noise impacts.

The proposal was carried by the committee members, with the reasons for refusal set to be discussed again at a later meeting.