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Objections to turbine plans

PEOPLE whose homes would be only one kilometre from their nearest turbine are among those objecting to the wind farm plans.

Hirwaun firm Pennant Walters wants to build the 12-turbine wind farm on a wide tract of mountainside south of the A465 road at Hirwaun.

The site in general is described as “relatively isolated”, with Hirwaun and Aberdare both being around two kilometres from what would be their nearest turbines.

But a row of terraced homes at Bwllfa Road, Bwllfa Dare, would be separated from their nearest turbine by just half that distance.

Residents of the street have submitted 25 objection letters as members of the Bwllfa Residents’ Association.

But Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, although itself urging refusal of the application when it comes before a public inquiry later this year, says: “These letters do not generally address matters that are material planning considerations.

“Concern is expressed about the lack of public consultation both by the developer and by the council and the availability of information.

“Reference is made to the perceived closeness of the development to them, with a specific reference made to the potential for noise nuisance,” said the local authority.

“The letters relate to a perceived loss of house value, estimated to be 30 per cent, and ask who will compensate them for the loss.

“A detrimental effect on the natural beauty of the view from the back and front gardens is referred to as a major consideration when purchasing these properties.

“Reference is made to the position of the turbines affecting the standard of life in the terrace, and the letters conclude by advising that the residents have taken legal advice.

“Members are advised that the loss of a personal view and a perceived (or even actual) devaluation of property prices are not material planning considerations.

“The remainder of the letters can be categorised as being concerned on grounds of both visual and residential amenity grounds that are clearly material considerations.”

The council says 500 metres is generally considered a sufficient separation distance between a wind turbine and residential property to avoid unacceptable noise impact.

But it does concede that “some flexibility is advised”.

Apr 10 2008 by Linda Elias, Cynon Valley Leader