Cornwall Council will meet behind closed doors tonight to decide whether to force a Bodmin company to take down a giant wind turbine which has been installed illegally.
Councillors went to the site at Callywith Farm last week to look at the impact the 250-foot structure had on the landscape.
They were joined by more than 80 members of the public, the majority of whom were supportive of the decision by local firm Dingle Brothers to build the turbine back in November, disregarding a stop notice that had been issued by the local authority, after it had earlier refused permission for the giant structure.
Defying a stop notice is illegal and could lead to court fines of up to £20,000.
At the site meeting last Wednesday, the firm, and its representatives, argued that the renewable energy that has been generating from the turbine has prevented huge amounts of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere since it became operational.
Ron Dingle estimated that 90 per cent of the people attending the site meeting fully backed his firm’s decision to install the £1.2 million turbine.
“We had a lot of local farmers and other supporters there, and most of the people who spoke against it were councillors and from the CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) for instance.
“I don’t know why the council is going to discuss possibly taking us to court in private, it should be an open meeting,” said Mr Dingle.
But Bodmin East Cornwall councillor Lance Kennedy said that argument was irrelevant.
“The fact is this turbine has been erected illegally as the company failed to comply with a stop notice.
“If this turbine is allowed to stay up, it will set a precedent which could have damaging consequences in other parts of the county.”
Mick Martin, the Cornwall councillor for the area where the turbine was, said although Dingle Brothers had now applied for retrospective planning consent for the turbine, that was not the issue facing councillors tonight who will meet is private session.
“There is no justification whatsoever in building this turbine when a stop notice was in place – that is illegal, irrespective of the retrospective planning application, it contravenes all the rules and regulations.”
Bodmin parish church rector the Reverend Graham Minors said he had no objections to wind turbines and was an advocate of renewable energy, but the one at Callywith had an adverse impact on funeral services at the Glyn Valley Crematorium, where it could be seen through a large window, which had been designed specifically to provide a tranquil view for mourners.
“When people lose loved ones, they need a quiet place for reflection, which the crematorium has always provided.
“That peace and tranquillity has now been lost,” he said.
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