March 13, 2012

Residents oppose wind power plan

Mid Devon Gazette, 13 March 2012

Angry residents living near the site of a proposed wind turbine say it will not have any effect on the applicant apart from generating money for them.

David Ackland has submitted plans for the installation of a 11kw Gaia wind turbine, mounted on an 18m steel mast on land at Leigh Barton Farm, near Loxbeare. The proposal has provoked strong opposition from nearby residents, who say it could have an intrusive visual impact, devalue their properties and make excessive noise.

Residents also accused Mid Devon District Council of failing to properly consult them on the scheme, with only a handful of the neighbouring properties which could be affected by the proposal, written to by the authority.

Around a dozen residents attended the meeting of Tiverton Town Council’s planning committee last Monday to raise their fears about the project.

Among them was Mr Michael Childe, who said he had lived in “peaceful tranquility” near the site for 52 years.

“The turbine would be in our line of vision,” he said. “We are going to see it every time we leave the property.”

Resident Andrea Matthews lives around 400m from the site and said like many others, she had only found out about the application more than a fortnight after plans were lodged with the local planning authority.

She said: “I only found out about it properly in the last 24 hours. The impact on the view if this is allowed would be immense.” She said there was also a wood nearby, which was a “haven for wildlife”.

She said residents supported renewable energy schemes in principle, provided they were sited sympathetically.

“We are not opposed to green energy sources but this is the wrong area,” she said. “This is a rural location with quite a few properties which will be affected. It won’t have any effect on the applicant other than in remuneration in the form of a cheque.”

Members also heard concerns about the number of low-flying aircraft that already use the area and that approval of this single twin-bladed turbine could set a precedent for further wind turbine application in the area. Jenny Clifford, from the planning department, said “initial neighbour consultation” was undertaken when the planning application was validated in the middle of February.

She added: “Further properties have now been identified and notified following the site visits undertaken by the case officer. This is quite usual on such applications as it is only after site inspections are made that properties in proximity to the site are fully identified.”

Tiverton Town Councillors voted not to support the proposed scheme because of the potential adverse impact of the scheme. The committee also suggested the district council’s planning committee carry out a site visit.

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