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Wind turbines get go-ahead despite widespread protest

Controversial plans to erect two separate wind turbines near Ilfracombe were given the go-ahead last week.

The two applications, for turbines at Mullacott Cross Industrial Estate, were submitted to North Devon Council earlier this year.

Both plans were recommended for refusal by planning officers but were approved by the authority’s planning committee at a meeting last week.

In January, Adam Carr of South Molton firm Industrial & Community Wind Generation, submitted plans for a turbine measuring around 53 metres to be sited on land to the south of Mullacott Cross Industrial Estate.

The land in question is owned by Devon County Council and the authority pledged its support to the scheme.

In supporting documents submitted with the application, Mr Carr said: “Wind speeds at Mullacott are particularly high, such that the turbine will be amongst the most efficient in the country.

“All the power generated by the project will go to units on the industrial estate or nearby dwellings.”

Four letters of objection were received by the council and West Down Parish Council also opposed the plans, saying approval could open the doors to similar applications.

Another application, submitted to the council in May, sought permission to erect a 79-metre turbine at the head office of Philip Dennis Foodservices on Mullacott Cross Industrial Estate. Applicant John Denis said the power generated would directly supply the business and that any excess energy would be fed back into the national grid. The application received eight letters of objection, most of which cited visual impact, noise nuisance and the turbine’s proximity to the existing Fullabrook wind farm as reasons for refusal.

Council planning officers said both applications should be refused, claiming the turbines would cause significant harm to the countryside and would spoil the view from nearby Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Planning committee chairman Eric Ley said committee members had to decide whether the negative visual impact of the turbines would outweigh the positive opportunities for local businesses to utilise green energy.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Ley said: “Members decided that both applications should be approved.

“The committee felt the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty and coastal preservation area was not so great as to warrant refusal.

“Members also felt the economic benefit to the industrial estate outweighed the visual impact on the area.”

You can view the plans at www.northdevon.gov.uk.