Inquest opens on controversial plans for nine turbines.

A LONG-running debate over plans for a wind farm at Batsworthy Cross, near Knowstone, is set resume next week.

The proposal for nine wind turbines up to 103 metres in height will be the subject of a planning inquiry, which starts at 10am on Tuesday, June 12, at Bishops Nympton Parish Hall.

RWE npower renewables lodged an appeal after North Devon Council refused planning applications for an 18 MW scheme and temporary anemometer mast against its own officers' recommendations.

The council's executive member for strategic planning, Councillor Mike Edmunds, said: "The application not only included the wind turbine generators, but also unit transformer enclosures, a substation building, anemometer, access tracks and other related equipment.

"The committee refused permission for wind turbine generators on the grounds of visual impact on the local landscape and on the heritage assets in the locality of the wind farm.

"This extends to the intrusion of the wind farm into views towards and from Exmoor National Park, as well as a loss of amenity to residents. However, the applicant subsequently appealed against the two decisions, which is why it has gone to public inquiry."

Project developer, Chris Nunn said: "Batsworthy Cross is an excellent location for a wind farm and we have good grounds for appeal.

"We would urge all in favour of the project to get behind the appeal."

The public inquiry is open to members of the public and is expected to sit for 10 days.