Church of England plans to erect six giant wind turbines in beautiful countryside have been swept away by a storm of protest.
Stunned by the force of the opposition, the Bishop of Exeter claimed he was forced into a U-turn because his clergy had been bullied and abused.
The Church had wanted to erect 75ft turbines on tenanted farms near the Devon villages of Chittlehampton, East Anstey and Black Torrington.
Outraged villagers organised petitions and protests. Matters came to a head at furious public meetings in the three villages attended by senior clergy and the Church backed down.
In a letter read out last week in churches in the three parishes, the Bishop, the Right Reverend Michael Langrish, said: “Our decision to withdraw has been taken out of sensitivity to the position of our churches, and our clergy and officers, who have been subjected to hostility and in some cases, outright verbal abuse.
“I have been grieved by the way some of those most opposed to our proposals have resorted to abusive and bullying tactics. I and many of my colleagues have received very unpleasant letters and those who have attended public meetings… have been shouted down and called liars.”
However, Black Torrington resident Mary Jannaway, 63, said: “The Church is taking the Government’s subsidies paid for by our taxes and cashing in. It is immoral because the Church has a duty to look after its parishioners.”
Ray Stacey, a member of Chittlehampton Parochial Church Council, added: “We had to have a whip-round in the pub to pay to get the church clock fixed.
“We would not have seen any of the money generated by the turbines. We are poorer than our own church mice.”
Published online as Windfarm blown away
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