A Torridge District Councillor likened the council’s plans committee members to fish out of water who are seen as a soft touch when it comes to deciding wind turbine applications.
Councillor Chris Leather made the comparison at the plans committee meeting.
The meeting’s agenda included three turbine applications which the majority of the 150 members of the public who attended had come to see determined.
When the committee was deciding on an application for a 79m turbine at Vaglefield Farm, near Holsworthy, Mr Leather said: “We are in quagmire lane here, flapping around like fish out of water. We haven’t set a policy, we are being seen as a soft touch, like people who are very naive.”
Speaking against the 79m turbine, chairman of the Torridge branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Penny Mills, called for the council to defer all wind turbine applications until further assessments had been carried out.
She said: “Defer on every one until people have done more assessments. It would only be reasonable.”
But the council’s solicitor Ken Miles said the applications had to be dealt with as they came in for legal reasons.
He said: “The council has a duty to determine planning applications or we could end up having legal action taken against the council.
“The Localism Act doesn’t mean we can change our policy. You have to take your decision in accordance with planning policy.”
The councillors refused the Vaglefield Farm application by a majority of one vote.
They also refused a second application for a 46m turbine at Huxhill Farm in Weare Giffard but approved an application for a 35m turbine at Ham Farm in Alverdiscott.
At the council’s community and resources committee meeting on Monday councillors agreed to set up a Renewable Energy Working Party.
This group will be made up of a minimum of seven councillors who will make recommendations to the community and resources committee on council policy and guidance.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding