Villagers of Parkham went to the polls on Thursday and rejected proposals for two wind turbines in their parish.
In a rare parish referendum 215 villagers cast their votes – a 34 per cent turnout.
Of these, 174 or 81 per cent were against the proposal by local man Peter Willes, who wants the turbines to power his Parkham Farms cheese-making plant and the farms which supply his milk.
His proposal for two 100-metre high turbines near Sedborough Farm is in association with Keith Apps of Power Limited.
The referendum was organised by Parkham Parish Conservation Association under the provisions of the Local Government Act and run by Torridge District Council.
It has no legally binding status, but provides a gauge of local opinion when local authority planners make their decisions.
Parkham Parish Council held a special planning meeting the next day and voted against the wind turbine application.
But the decision now lies with Torridge District Council.
PPCA chairman Garry Jennings said: “The PPCA is absolutely delighted with the result of the parish poll. The community has shown its true feelings towards the proposed wind turbine development. Now we have their unequivocal endorsement the PPCA will work tirelessly to continue the fight against the planning application.
“The outcome of the vote by the parish council to reject the plans to build two massive 100-metre turbines is also fantastic news and a commendable decision that is the correct one for our community.”
Mr Willes thanked the 41 people who voted in favour of the proposal.
The PPCA would undoubtedly claim this as a substantial victory, but he felt it showed how open minded people were to a changing world, he said. Basically 66 per cent of those in the parish were unsure what to think and did not put their views forward.
“I understand that people around Sedborough have concerns about what the impact might be, but think they are fearing the worst without really knowing. If I genuinely thought this would harm the lives of local people and cause the amount of distress they claim, I would not have put in the application in the first place,” he said.
At the end of the day it would be down to Torridge District Council to decide on the planning regulations and the facts, said Mr Willes.
30 April 2008
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