NDC planning committee councillors unanimously vote against 77m high turbine near A361 link road

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A North Devon Councillor said the area has ‘done its share with wind turbines’ as plans for a 250-foot turbine near South Molton were unanimously rejected by the council’s planning committee.

Braunton West ward member Cllr Jasmine Chesters said of the proposal, which would have seen a single 77 metre high turbine erected at Lower Webbery Farm, Ash Mill, “normally I would support a turbine to support a business or farm but this I cannot support. It is industrial size.

“I think in North Devon we have done our share with wind turbines and I think this one is going to ruin too many people’s lives.”

Cllr Richard Edgell also spoke against further wind turbines in the area.

“We are saddled with Batsworthy which we (NDC planning committee) voted unanimously against,” he said.

“It is not concentrated in one area, it is a disease which is spreading.”

The proposed turbine would have been built 1.6km north of Ash Mill, near the A361 link road.

Planning manager Mike Kelly gave a recommendation of refusal as there are three farms within a kilometre of the site. Concerns were also raised by Exmoor National Park, who said the site ‘lies in the setting of the National Park and is significant.’

More than 50 letters of representation were received by the council and eight people spoke against the plans at the meeting on Wednesday.

Bill Palmer, representing Bishops Nympton Parish Council, said he was worried about the cumulative effect of the turbine being close to the Batsworthy site.

“These are the first parishes seen by 90 per cent of people coming into North Devon,” he said.

“This application is not to assist a local farmer but for financial gain.”

The representative of the neighbouring Rose Ash parish also spoke against further wind turbines in the area, saying: “rapidly, our beautiful North Devon is becoming blighted by these monstrosities.

“The turbine would be right in view across our parish. It would be a permanent eyesore for all of us.”

West Port Farm owner Jeffrey Ley also questioned the planning officer’s advice that his farm was 480 metres from the site, claiming the boundary of his land would only actually be 86m away.

Councillors were also struck by Bernard Schwartz’s presentation, which showed mocked up images of how the turbine would be viewed from the nearby properties.

Cllr Jeremy Yabsley moved refusal, saying the application ‘crosses the line between smaller turbines for local business needs and larger ones for investment opportunity’.

Councillors voted unanimously to refuse the plans, which were put before the committee on a non-determinate basis.

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