Fears for future of ‘peaceful’ parish

The landscape will be dramatically changed if the 23-acre Atlantic Array substation is approved.

The landscape will be dramatically changed if the 23-acre Atlantic Array substation is approved. - Credit: Archant

Renewable energy projects proposed for the area include three 91m turbines and the 23-acre Atlantic Array substation.

The site of the proposed Webbery turbines.

The site of the proposed Webbery turbines. - Credit: Archant

People living in and around Alverdiscott say they are worried their peaceful parish could be turned into an ‘industrial site’ if a raft of renewable energy projects are given the go-ahead.

They say their rural idyll could be changed beyond recognition by proposals to build a new substation for the Atlantic Array offshore windfarm – as well as separate plans for three turbines the height of Big Ben.

Plans for RWE npower renewables’ offshore wind farm are due to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate next month.

A 14-metre-high substation would be built on green fields adjacent to an existing substation, spanning approximately 9.5 hectares of open countryside.

It is estimated that the construction of the substation would start in 2016 and could take around 36 months if built in one single phase.

If North Devon Wind Farm’s separate application for three 91-metre turbines at Webbery Barton is also passed, the hamlet of Stoney Cross could be hit by up to 11 vehicles an hour during the construction phase.

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Alverdiscott resident Yvonne Templeman said the noise of both developments would be ‘horrendous’.

“When you stand in Stoney Cross what can you hear? Nothing but the wind in the trees and birdsong,” she said.

“But if these turbines and the substation are put up this peace and quiet will be completely destroyed.

“The giant substation is going to turn this beautiful countryside into an industrial site.”

RWE claimed the substation would not lead to the loss of any ‘key landscape elements’.

A spokesman said: “The siting of the Atlantic Array substation has been decided through a process of assessment of alternative locations.

“A range of environmental constraints were considered, including landscape, visual, ecology and noise effects.”

Alison Boyle, a member of Devon County Council’s Atlantic Array advisory committee, said the rural parish of Alverdiscott should be protected.

She said: “Should the Array be granted planning permission it would cause major disruption in Torridge, and could well damage the tourist trade which is a major contributor to the area.

“Residents of Alverdiscott and the nearby area will be severely affected by the expansion of the substation.

“It is vital that a strong case is made to protect Torridge from financial loss and from losing the valuable ‘rurality’ which is essential to the character of the area.”

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