An appeal against the Isle of Wight Council’s refusal for permission to build three wind turbines in the West Wight has been dismissed.
Cornwall Light and Power, now known as REG Windpower, wanted to build three 110m-high turbines in an area of outstanding natural beauty at Cheverton Down in Shorwell.
But it was refused permission by the Isle of Wight Council in December 2009.
The company appealed the decision and a hearing was held during March, April and May this year.
The Planning Inspectorate has now revealed his findings and has concluded that the proposed development would have an “unacceptable adverse effect on the landscape, the AONB and heritage assets”.
In a 54 page report, inspector John Woolcock, said that the development would also conflict with the development plan and relevant national policy.
Among his comments, Mr Woolcock said that he considered the company’s assessment of the visual impact “underestimates how widespread the significance and impact of these structures would be.” But he adds: “Nevertheless, I agree that beyond about 13km, the proposed wind farm would be likely to be perceived only in clear visibility conditions and would be seen as part of the wider landscape composition, albeit with the movement of blades likely to attract some attention.”
Mr Woolcock adds that the turbines would have a “dominating effect” at close range.
Although Mr Woolcock says that turbines would significantly alter the view or outlook from many properties in the area, this has not been a decisive consideration. In the report, he says that he does not consider that what could be seen of the wind farm would have a dominating effect on the outlook from dwellings near to the proposed site. He said: “The proposed turbines would not be so high or so close to the nearest dwellings that they would have an unacceptable dominating impact.”
And Mr Woolcock doesn’t believe the turbines would be unduly noisy. He said: “It would to some extent impair the tranquility of the area, but for those travelling along the paths it would do so for a limited time. There is no evidence that the likely noise levels would have a significant effect on those passing by.” Mr Woolcock adds that there is no compelling evidence that low frequency noise or other emissions would affect sleep, the mental well-being, or living conditions of those living nearby.
Mr Woolcock did not find that the likely effects of the proposed development would have an adverse impact on the interests of ecology and nature conservation.
And tourism would feel no adverse impact either, according to the inspectorate. In fact, he notes it would have limited benefits from the additional employment it would create and the link with Vestas’ new R&D facility on the Island.
However, he did find that the proposed development would conflict with planning policy because it would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the most sensitive areas of designated landscape. He concludes the adverse affects on the AONB would not be clearly outweighed by the environmental, social and economic benefits.
There is no justification for allowing the appeal on the grounds of the fall back position, which would allow turbines that are half the size at 52m.
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