Wind farm war is fought out at planning appeal
Credit: West Briton, www.thisiscornwall.co.uk 14 June 2012 ~~
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A developer facing fierce opposition to his plans for a wind farm near Truro has vowed to continue his fight even if he loses a planning appeal being heard this week.
Vickram Mirchandani, who runs Coronation Power Ltd, has spent the past eight years and about £100,000 trying to win approval for the renewable energy farm on land at Truthan Barton, St Erme.
His scheme horrified residents, who fear it would ruin the unspoilt landscape and they formed the campaign group 2 Big 2 Close.
Its chairman, Nick Dymond, said it raised £50,000 in donations within the parish to challenge the wind farm, winning the right to speak at the inquiry.
“We represent 90 per cent of St Erme people (from a door-to-door poll) and are supporting Cornwall Council’s argument that this would have an adverse impact on the landscape and heritage of Truthan Barton.
“We also want to stress the effect on residents’ amenities, their health and wellbeing with concerns around noise, sleep and the flicker effect (caused by the rotation of wind turbine blades).”
Mr Mirchandani was forced to scale down his plans after a high court judgement upheld Cornwall Council’s refusal of planning permission and a planning inquiry rejected his scheme for seven turbines.
His latest application for five 120ft turbines – taller than Truro Cathedral – was turned down by Cornwall Council and is now subject to a six-day planning inquiry at St Erme’s community centre.
Opening the hearing on Tuesday, planning inspector George Baird said it would focus on the turbines’ individual and cumulative impacts on the landscape, character and its visual appearance. It would also look at its cultural and heritage assets and the residents’ amenities and whether the harm outweighed any benefits from the scheme.
Mr Mirchandani told the West Briton before the hearing the costs were “worth it” and that he “didn’t like losing”.
He added: “There is a small vocal minority who are, in my view, overreacting. Once up no one would notice them. It would be the same as Carland Cross, no one notices them.
“They are riling everyone, spreading panic that they are too noisy and bring house prices down. Cornwall is a brilliant place for turbines. They’re coming.”
Watching the hearing, Cornwall councillor Bob Egerton, a supporter of renewable energy, backed the development, saying: “We need these projects, we’re facing an energy crisis. This will make a significant contribution to our energy needs.”
During opening arguments solicitor Martin Pearse, representing 2 Big 2 Close, gave a moving account of Truthan Barton, saying: “It speaks to them (locals) of mellow mid-Cornish countryside … unchanged since Medieval times.”
Gavin Collett, representing Cornwall Council, said green energy should not be “at any cost” and that the turbines, as noted at the previous planning inquiry, would be “overbearing”.
The hearing continues.
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