Parkham is the latest North Devon community getting to grips with the possibility of wind turbines on its doorstep.
The unique proposal raising concern is not for a multi-turbine “wind farm,” but for two turbines to provide power for the local Parkham Farm cheese plant and the farms which supply its milk.
Although no formal planning application has yet been made – one is expected imminently – proposer Peter Willes of Parkham Farms and Keith Apps of Power Ltd have already presented their ideas to Parkham Parish Council.
These are for two huge turbines near Sedborough Farm, each measuring 67 metres to the hub and 100 metres to the highest point of the rotor blade.
This has already drawn comparison by a newly-formed Parkham Parish Conservation Association as being nearly four times the height of the village’s parish church and concern that they will be visible for miles.
Around 40 people attended a parish council meeting after which chairman Hugh Bone told the Gazette that many had concerns about the proposals and many came to learn the facts.
He said: “I think they respected us having a meeting and giving them the opportunity to talk about it. People listened to the pros and cons and asked questions.
“A spokesman from the action group outlined the background and details so people could understand what is going on. It was not placard waving, just trying to establish the facts”.
Mr Willes also turned up and answered questions.
“There was a call for a straw poll. But we have not had the application yet, so it would have been unfair to come to any firm decisions.
“When this goes to the district planners we will get a copy and they will ask us for the parish’s views. We will then have a separate parish council meeting for this item and will also put the application and drawings up for residents to see, so they can be part of the consultation process.”
PPCA member Graham Bromell, who lives opposite the proposed site, said the priority was to let people know what was happening.
“These are massive things that would be put up. It will obviously affect me by seeing them, but I feel the people of Parkham will hear them more. And we are concerned that this could set a precedent and it will not be long before someone else says ‘I can do this’ too.”
Already turbine proposals for North Devon would more than meet Devon’s renewable energy target, he claimed.
“The Government is stamping these things through and riding over everyone. There are other sources out there, such as the sea turbines trialled successfully off Lynton and windmills at sea are more efficient.”
Mr Willes said: “Our application for two megawatt wind turbines at Sedborough Farm is a business investment made by the Willes family. This will benefit their farmhouse cheese-making business Parkham Farms Ltd and the 34 supplying dairy farmers in the surrounding area.
“After three years of researching ways to minimise our exposure to the ever increasing energy prices and to improve our carbon footprint, wind has become the obvious answer. The turbines will generate enough electricity to supply our cheese dairy site at Higher Alminstone Farm, Woolsery and all our dairy farmers with renewable electricity. This will enable our cheese customers the ability to buy the first farmhouse cheddar on the market to be energised by green power from field to plate.
20 February 2008
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