Two defiant brothers have been blocked from erecting an illegal wind turbine in Bodmin.
Work had started on the 250ft turbine installation at Callywith, forcing Cornwall Council staff to rush to the site and issue a stop notice and threatening Graham and Ron Dingle with legal action if they continued to defy the local authority.
Two months ago, the council refused the Dingle Brothers firm planning permission for the structure. But the businessmen did not abide by the decision and they have installed the concrete base for the turbine and built a substation and powered it with electricity – on land 30 metres from the application site.
Half of the £1.3 million wind turbine has arrived from America and the other half is due on site this week.
Graham Dingle told the Cornish Guardian he and his brother had intended to defy Cornwall Council’s planning decision and erect the turbine regardless of the refusal.
Threats that they could face arrest if they continued had caused the brothers to call a halt to further installation work, said Mr Dingle.
He said the consequences of now having a redundant turbine could be dire for their agricultural supply and waste business, after their life savings had paid for the structure to power their waste recycling plant.
“We are so fed up, we have decided to close our recycling facility which processes half a million gallons a week, and also our farm machinery hire business, which was one of the biggest in the county,” he said.
Mr Dingle claimed the planning meeting which saw the application refused was a farce, after councillors overruled a planning officer who had recommended approval.
“It was a total fiasco, with so much misinformation coming from the anti-wind turbine councillors and misleading, negative comments from an environmental health officer,” said Mr Dingle.
He said the £1.3m structure had been ordered in April after a favourable site meeting, and it had not been possible to cancel the order.
“Our feeling was at least we would get two years’ use out of it before the council could do anything but now that the stop notice has been issued, we are in limbo.
“We were told if we carried on we could face jail.
“Because the turbine base and substation have been built in a different place, we can’t even lodge an appeal against the planning refusal now. We have to put in a new application which I can’t see them agreeing to. As far as we know, not one Bodmin resident objected to the turbine, yet the council refused it, but allowed another turbine to be built a couple of months ago not far from us – the whole thing is a farce,” said Mr Dingle.
A stop notice is a form of enforcement action preventing developers from continuing work on a site. Those who ignore the notice are liable to court action and can be fined up to £20,000 on summary conviction or an unlimited fine if convicted on indictment.
A spokesman for Cornwall Council’s planning department said: “It’s very rare to issue a stop notice but in this case the Dingles were due to erect the wind turbine this week, even though planning permission was refused. Further, it would have been erected 50 metres from the application site with a detrimental impact on neighbouring properties.”
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