Dozens object to turbine plan
PLANS to erect a wind turbine on farmland in Mid Devon have met stiff opposition from locals who fear it will create a blot on an unspoilt landscape.
Malcolm Gillbard hopes the 45m structure will help cut his carbon footprint and energy costs so more investment can be ploughed into Ash Farm, near Black Dog.
Mid Devon District Council look set to approve the green energy scheme, which will have the capacity to produce around 225KW of clean energy, if development goes ahead at Littleborough Cross.
Residents have lobbied parish councils in nearby Poughill, Puddington and Washford, which have all told planners to reject the plan due to concerns over noise and the visual impact the turbine will have on the area.
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Around 50 letters have been sent to Phoenix House chiefs, as well as a petition with 84 signatures against development, and James Whitson, who lives at Lower Minchingdown Farm, Black Dog, said it will be built on a high ridge with views to Dartmoor and Exmoor.
Stephen Hicks, from Puddington, said: "The beauty and tranquillity of this area regularly used by parishioners for walking, cycling and horse-riding will be completely destroyed.
"The turbine is too large for the site, being twice the height of others nearby, and will ruin the uninterrupted views across the countryside."
Barbara Wright, who also lives in Puddington, fears the development will be harmful to wildlife, including barn owls and bats, and told the council the only people who are likely to benefit from the turbine are the landowner and developers.
Dinah Blake, who also lives in the village, said: "Turbines are being questioned as to their real contribution to energy supplies compared to the amount of disruption which they cause to the environment."
The developer's agent, GVA Grimley Ltd, said the plan is part of an ongoing ambition to retain family ownership of the farm, which has 280 acres, 70 cows, 130 calves and 300 sheep.
A statement to the council said: "Despite the manually intensive nature of such farming practices, the economic downturn has made it unfeasible to employ additional labour.
"The farm is off grid and relies on heating oil and electricity as part of its operations. Both of these fuels have been rising in cost substantially over the last three years.
"The proposed wind turbine location has been selected to minimise any potential impacts on the surrounding landscape and neighbouring properties."
The council has also written a report on the plan, which will be debated by its planning committee at Tiverton Town Hall tomorrow afternoon, which said: "Renewable and low carbon development is supported by national policy provided that landscape and visual effects are satisfactorily addressed.
"Planning permission should be granted only where the impact can be made acceptable and the level of harm to the landscape and visual amenities of the area are not considered significant.