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Go-ahead for £5M wind farm 'ignores views of hundreds'

Angry campaigners say a decision to allow a £5 million wind farm in Morwenstow will open the floodgates to others.

Planning inspector Andrew Pykett’s decided on appeal to allow three, 81-metre high turbines in the parish.But John Moxey, chairman of Morwenstow Against Turbines (MAT), said: “We believe there is no doubt this is a political decision and that the inspector has chosen to ignore the views of the many hundreds of people who objected to the application.

“The inspector has effectively declared open season on Cornwall in general and on North Cornwall in particular.”

Now MAT is seeking legal advice with a view to mounting a judicial review through the High Court.

“A judicial review is based entirely on points of law and we believe there are certain points which have been disregarded and we need to know the chances we have of winning a review,” said Mr Moxey.

Last year North Cornwall District Council (NCDC) refused the application by Crimp Wind Power Ltd which sought permission for the turbines for a temporary, 25-year period.

An NCDC statement, in response to the appeal decision, said: “The planning inspector, in reaching his decision, has fully considered all relevant information following an extensive public inquiry.

“This council accepts his decision on this matter and we will not be taking any further action to appeal against the decision made.”

In addition to the three turbines, there will be a sub station, access tracks and ancillary development on land to the west of the A39 and north of the Shop to Crimp road.

Neil Exton, land and development manager for West Coast Energy, of which Crimp Wind Power is a subsidiary, said: “We are delighted with the inspector’s decision. It was just over three years ago we submitted the application. We feel this is the right site. We are hopeful, subject to turbine procurement, of starting construction at the end of this year or early next year.”

Mr Exton said it was hoped construction work on the £5 million project would take four to six months so that the turbines would be operational by the middle of next year.

“There was some local opposition and a large number of representations made against the project but a lot of these were duplicate representations from some people,” he said.

In his report, Mr Pykett said “notwithstanding the size of the proposed turbines and the inevitable visibility of the proposed wind farm, the project would not have a seriously harmful impact on the landscape character and visual appearance of the surrounding area”.

He also concluded that, although there could be collisions between the turbines and bats in the area, it was “unlikely to result in a significant threat to the local population”.

This Is Cornwall

2 April 2008