The proposed wind turbine at Warren Farm at Maesbury, near Wells, looks set to be refused planning permission because of its impact on an Iron Age hill fort.
Planning officers say the turbine would have a “substantial adverse impact” on the setting of Maesbury Castle.
The hill fort is a scheduled monument and therefore the impact on its setting by any proposed development has to be taken in to account.
The Inspector of Ancient Monuments from English Heritage concluded that “having a large rotating turbine sat above the horizon will result in an unacceptable, detrimental impact upon the setting of the scheduled monument”.
In line with planning guidelines the application has therefore been recommended for refusal. As the matter is not due to be raised for discussion at the Mendip planning board meeting on July 18 it would appear that councillors will accept this view.
The proposed site falls within the Croscombe Parish Council boundary and the council’s views were sought by planners. The parish council recommended that the application be refused and listed their main concerns.
These included potential disturbance from noise and shadow flicker; that it could be a visual distraction to drivers on the Old Frome Road and that it is only a short distance from the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which may be expanded in the future.
Other nearby parish councils’ opinions were also canvassed due to their close boundary to the site. The reaction of other councils was mixed. Ashwick, Shepton Mallet and Binegar have raised no objections while St Cuthbert (Out) have recommended refusal on the basis of visual impact.
There were 26 representations from local residents which were evenly split for and against.
Objections included the possible affect on the tourist industry; that it could be detrimental to house prices and that it would not benefit local residents but developers who would gain from subsidies.
Those in favour cited the seriousness of climate change and the need to lower carbon emissions and promote energy self-sufficiency.
Due to the impact on Maesbury Castle none of the objections or supporting correspondence is mentioned in the planner’s conclusion.
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