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Dorset campaigners join in further turbine fight

Objectors who successfully campaigned against an application for a wind farm near Gillingham earlier this year are gearing up for another battle.

Having lobbied hard against four 120-metre high turbines at Silton they are now opposing a smaller, single turbine in a nearby location.

The proposal by Mr B Knapton is for a 20-metre tall tower with a 12-metre diameter rotor, giving a total height of 26 metres, at Bainley Hill Farm.

It is 250 metres west of a similar turbine approved by North Dorset District Council in March.

The reason for approval given to that application states said the amenity of residential properties would not be adversely affected.

Although there was landscape impact that conflicted with the provisions of local plan policy, this was balanced by a general presumption towards the promotion of green technology mitigating the effects of climate change.

Gillingham Town Council has objected to the new scheme and asked that it be referred to North Dorset’s development control committee.

Its planning meeting was addressed by Lachlan Fraser, who represented the campaign group Save The Vale.

He said: “We understand that every application needs to be judged on its own merits and, with this in mind, Save Our Vale did not object to the previous application for the first wind turbine.

“The committee had concerns, but felt that it was appropriate for a farm to have a single turbine to provide power for its own use.

“However, we feel that we have not had the opportunity to establish the visual impact of the first wind turbine.

“These turbines are the height of an average village church tower, and this is a unique and lovely part of the British countryside. By allowing an undesirable array of wind turbines the visual amenity will be destroyed.”

Councillor Mick Lodge agreed with Mr Fraser, saying: “This is the thin edge of the wedge and I am concerned that this will slowly turn into a wind farm.

“Why didn’t they apply for two wind turbines at the beginning?”

Councillor Stephen Joyce said photo voltaic solar panels were less obtrusive.

Councillor Belinda Ridout said: ‘Before applying for a second turbine, I believe that the first turbine should be constructed and data taken from this to ascertain its efficiency, this data being made available with any subsequent turbine application.”