Councillors turn down controversial proposals to earmark the region for wind energy

Both district councils have turned down plans for a wind energy policy that could have opened up North Devon to turbine developers.

The proposed policy for the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan had sought to earmark both districts as suitable for wind energy development - which opponents feared could have opened the floodgates for a 'free for all'.

But yesterday (Tuesday), North Devon Council's executive rejected the policy, following in the footsteps of Torridge District Council last month.

The local plan shows what development is planned for the area and where it should be. Once adopted, the document will be used to make decisions on planning applications across the two districts.

The Gazette reported last month how it was thought adopting the policy could have left this area as the only place in the country to make formal provision for turbine development.

'Green light for developers'

NDC Councillor David Luggar said at the time: "If we adopt this, it gives the green light for developers as we will be the only councils open for wind business.

"We don't need a policy like this and we should follow the example of other councils. I am not against turbines. There might be individual cases that need one, but I don't want to see the districts littered with unwanted development and especially no more like Fullabrook."

TDC's lead member for planning Councillor Peter Watson said: "A clear majority of consultees objected to the principle of identifying areas suitable for wind energy in northern Devon.

"At the same time, central government, through further guidance, indicated that such an approach was no longer necessary."

Going to Government

At yesterday's meeting, NDC did however agree that a policy for starter homes would be included.

A report has proposed the plan be sent to the secretary of state for an independent examination. Subject to this being ratified by both full councils, it is hoped the plan will be sent to Government at the end of May.

* Today's Gazette reported on calls for North Devon to get its local plan in because it had left a 'planning vacuum' that gave the advantage to 'speculative' developers.