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Council blows out turbine plan for Vale

Plans to erect giant wind turbines in the Blackmore Vale were unanimously opposed by Gillingham Town Council on Monday night.

A packed public gallery watched as every member of the council’s planning committee voted to recommend refusal of plans to build four 120-metre (400 foot) high turbines on farmland at Silton for refusal.

Prior to the vote, councillors heard impassioned pleas from members of the Save Our Silton protest group, who are fighting plans from green energy firm Ecotricity for a second time after North Dorset District Council’s development committee threw out a proposal for a larger six-turbine installation in July 2009.

Save Our Silton chairman Chris Langham told the meeting: “The turbines will stand higher than the hills and completely dominate the landscape.

“The nearest house will be just 670 metres away and they will suffer massive noise disturbance.

“The Government data shows this to be a relatively windless site, yet we are being asked to despoil the beautiful Dorset countryside.

“It strikes us that the residents and the visitors will take the all the pain and there will be precious little gain except for the developer and the landowner.”

Councillors heard a tearful statement from resident Deborah Allard who runs Whistley Farm with her husband, Tim. The couple have diversified the farm by building two holiday lodges to rent out.

She said: “There may be two less turbines but they will still overshadow our home and this beautiful area will be spoilt.

“Ecotricity say these turbines will not affect tourism, but our guests say the main selling feature is the peace and tranquility that can be enjoyed at this site.”

Objectors disputed the green credentials of the turbines, pointing out that they will be erected on giant concrete bases, the creation of which is highly polluting.

Councillor Colin Dann said: “We must fight tooth and nail because it is just not appropriate for this area.”

Neither Ecotricity or the owner of the land sent a representative at the meeting.

Ecotricity spokesman Mike Cheshire said: “We always strive to be good neighbours and we do not build in areas where we think the impact on the environment or on the people will be negative.

“The idea that the turbines damage tourism is not accurate, Cornwall has many wind parks and it is one of the most visited areas of the UK.”