VILLAGERS have staged a series of stunts to highlight the impact of building a windfarm near their homes.

Campaigners from Ardley, Fewcott and Fritwell, near Bicester, used a blimp airship and a helicopter hovering over the site to show how the four proposed 125-metre high turbines could blight residents’ lives.

The stunts came after Chesterfield-based energy firm Bolsterstone forced a public inquiry over its plans to build the turbines at Willowbank Farm, just south of the M40, between Fewcott and Fritwell.

The appeal will be heard by a planning inspector on March 9.

Villagers were encouraged to take pictures of the helicopter to illustrate the impact of the turbines, and present them at the public inquiry, which will be held at Bodicote House, Banbury.

Residents have opposed the scheme over concerns about construction traffic, the impact on wildlife, interference to televisions, the size of turbines, and their proximity to homes.

Last April, Cherwell councillors unanimously voted against the plans to build a £10m windfarm on the site.

Ardley with Fewcott parish councillor Ian Corkin said: “The campaign is designed to highlight how imposing the structures would be.

“At 125 metres, they are the largest turbines ever proposed for an onshore site.

“There is no doubt that should they be built, these turbines will not only dominate the landscape for miles around, they will have a devastating impact on the area, blighting the lives of many hundreds of people.”

The blimp was flown above neighbouring Green Farm, close to the site of the planned turbines.

Mr Corkin said it was visible from the Banbury junction of the M40.

He added: “We could not get the blimp as close to the turbine site as we’d wanted as the police opposed it, saying it could distract motorway drivers. The irony of that was not lost.”

Andy Hunter, whose home and business at Green Farm would be just 450 metres from the turbines, said villagers were guinea pigs – and permission could open the floodgates for similar projects in other areas of countryside.

He added: “As an individual and businessman this is the biggest thing I have ever been up against in my life.”

Bolsterstone was unavailable for comment.