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Gale of protest over wind turbine plans

The latest in a series of wind turbine applications faces stiff opposition as residents blow cold on the plans.

The owners of Beechbarrow Farm, Hillgrove, near Wells, wish to place a turbine with a tower 24.6m metres high and with a blade diameter of 19.2m.

The plan has been recommended for refusal by St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council.

The owners previously had permission to place a smaller turbine on the site but had to change plans once the model went out of production.

At the start of the meeting the farm’s owner Peter McCann, there with his wife Ruth, addressed the councillors.

“The point I want to put across is that this is an amended application. The noise was already assessed and passed with the previous application. The new turbine is a class leader.”

The previous application had been for a 17.1m tower height and a blade with a diameter of 15m.

This increase in size saw residents of nearby houses attend the planning committee meeting to raise their objections with councillors.

Rachel Pritchard said: “My property is the closest. I suffer from migraines and when I’m out in the garden I will get constant flicker from the blades. I don’t think it’s fair. It’s not a suitable place for a turbine.”

Roger Ashman, although not an immediate neighbour, voiced his concern for those who are: “I’m very concerned about the properties so close to the turbine. It will devalue their properties and effect their quality of life.”

Other speakers voiced concerns about the impact on wildlife, particularly newts and birds, which live in the area and of the archeology that may be disturbed by the building.

There are two Bronze Age barrows near the site and the potential that this was an important site in that period of history.

However, Ruth McCann pointed out that the previous successful application had a condition that an archeologist must be on site and they expect a similar condition this time round.

After the public had had their say the planning committee discussed the application.

They did not take long to make their decision and voted unanimously against the application citing flicker effect, noise and visibility.

After the meeting Mrs Pritchard said: “We’re chuffed to bits with the result of the parish council and hope that Mendip District Council protect not only the wildlife but the residents as well.”

The application will now move up to the Mendip planning board.