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Bicton wind turbine plan goes to the top  

The Secretary of State is to be asked to approve the erection of a wind turbine on Grade One historic land at Bicton Arena.

Going against a planning officer’s recommendation to refuse the application by Clinton Devon Estates, members of East Devon District Council’s development control committee felt the sustained energy production by the turbine, erected on a 15-metre high mast, would outweigh any visual impact on the East Budleigh landscape.

Planning officer Ed Freeman, recommending refusal, said: “Despite the benefits that can be derived from renewable energy, significant harm is considered to arise and affect the character, appearance and intervisibility within and to the parkland setting.”

Councillor Mike Green said, if members were worried, a condition could be put on the approval that the turbine be dismantled if it was put out of commission.

Proposing approval, Councillor Ann Liverton said she was sad at the officer’s recommendation. While listed parkland, it was by a successful agricultural college and “spanking new headquarters that are 97 per cent carbon free.”

She said the applicant prided itself on sustainability and biofuels at its HQ and the turbine would generate electricity for lighting.

“In 200 years we may be struggling to survive against what is happening with the climate.

“I think the climate change agenda is important. Turbines will become smaller and efficient. Once the landscape is lost through global warming, we will have lost it.”

Mr Green seconded approval, saying the turbine was a way forward and people should not be stuck in the past.

Kate Little, EDDC’s head of planning and countryside services, said she supported wind farms but there were other ways of generating electricity, such as solar panels, and she felt a turbine was “wrong in this parkland. It will damage it.”

“I am not totally convinced by climate change,” said Councillor Ray Franklin. “What goes around comes around.

“It will have an impact. I think wind farms are awful. It will have an impact on the landscape.”

He recommended a site visit before making a decision. This was backed by Councillor Helen Parr but voted against.

Favouring the wind turbine, Councillor Trevor Cope commented: “We are guardians of the planet. Ignoring anything that would make our lives better is foolish.


15 November 2007

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