CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after a bid for a "monstrous" battery storage farm on Halesowen greenbelt was thrown out by planners.

Proposals for a battery energy storage system on a field on Illeybrook Farm, off Illey Lane, were turned down on February 2 after planners said the scheme would be "inappropriate development in the greenbelt."

Around 50 letters of objection had been submitted including those from councillor Alan Taylor, Dudley Local Access Forum, Hales Owen Abbey Trust and the Monarch’s Way Association, with concerns centring around a loss of greenbelt and the spoiling of the nationally-recognised 526mile Monarch's Way footpath, as well as noise and disturbance to residents.

Halesowen News: An example of a battery plant included in a council reportAn example of a battery plant included in a council report (Image: Dudley Council report)

The site is designated as an Area of High Historic Landscape Value and is near St Mary's Abbey - an ancient monument.

Mick Freer, of Hales Owen Abbey Trust, was delighted with the refusal of the application for 112 battery storage units from London-based Net Zero Eleven Ltd.

He said: "It's excellent news.

"The area is very special - it's a lovely historic landscape - it would have been a tragedy if it had been given the go-ahead.

"They are ugly monstrous things."

Halesowen News: The proposed site The proposed site (Image: Hales Owen Abbey Trust)

Notes by planners stated it would have been "of an industrial appearance, generally resembling shipping containers and including elements such as palisade fencing, transformers and CCTV, more typical of an industrial estate rather than a field in the countryside."

They said it would "conflict with the purpose of the Green Belt to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment" and would "result in harm to the Illey and Lapal Area of High Historic Landscape Value."

Net Zero Eleven Ltd had said in a design and access statement: "The development is required for the exploitation of renewable energy and will make an important contribution to ensure that Dudley MBC can meet its own commitment to the climate emergency and reaching net zero."

The facility would have been in situ for 40 years.

A separate application from Anglo Renewables for a battery energy storage site and substation on land which is part of Lowlands Farm, off Illey Road next to the M5 motorway, was turned down last September.