Plans for a nine turbine wind farm at Batsworthy Cross came under review this week, as an inquiry into the plan got underway on Tuesday.
Around 100 members of the public crowded into Bishops Nympton Parish Hall for the start of the inquiry, which comes as a result of North Devon Council’s decision to refuse permission for the plan last June.
The applicant, RWE nPower renewables, lodged an appeal against North Devon planners’ decision which has culminated in the inquiry.
A separate plan for an anemometer mast on the site was refused in December and will also come under review at the inquiry.
The inquiry started with the inspector taking the names of members of the public who wish to speak during the inquiry and attempting to fit them into the appropriate part of the schedule.
There was some confusion among some members of the crowd as to what they were and weren’t allowed to do while one member of the audience caused some consternation when he said he’d be speaking in favour of the application.
One member of the audience was overheard to say the man was “a spider in the lion’s den”.
The inquiry then progressed, with independent inspector Rupert Grantham warning all involved to keep party politics out of the inquiry.
RWE claims the plan would provide energy for just under 9,000 homes but the council decided it would have too great an impact on the surrounding landscape.
The council’s Executive member for strategic planning, Councillor Mike Edmunds, said: “The committee refused permission for wind turbine generators on the grounds of visual impact on the local landscape.
“This extends to the intrusion of the wind farm into views towards and from Exmoor National Park, as well as a loss of amenity to residents.”
The inquiry opened at 10am on Tuesday and is expected to last for at least four weeks, with members of the public able to attend. A session of the inquiry will be dedicated to public participation. The evening session, on Tuesday, gets underway at 6pm.
More information about the applications and the inquiry is available at www.northdevon.gov.uk/planning and
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