Democracy is dead at Torridge District Council according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), after the approval of three more wind turbine applications.
The applications were dealt with at the council’s planning committee meeting on Thursday.
The CPRE’s complaint comes after one of the applications, for a 35m turbine at Bason Farm in Bradford near Holsworthy, was approved despite over a hundred objection letters being sent into the planning department.
Penny Mills, the chairman of the Torridge branch of the CPRE, said: “We are absolutely appalled at the decision concerning the application at Bason Farm. Democracy is dead in Torridge.
“It is sited far too close to a neighbouring dwelling at 290m, and in an unspoilt peaceful area with no vertical structures anywhere to be seen.
“The application had been inadequate, lacking the correct environmental information, and it didn’t comply with best practice guidance.”
“We had not objected to the other two applications on the agenda but we had strongly objected to this one and so had 183 other local people, as well as a petition being made.
“Yet the opinions of local people have been completely ignored by most of the councillors on the committee who don’t live in the immediate area and none of them on the committee are the councillor for that area. The councillor for that ward should come to the committee and be allowed to vote.
“It seems other councillors disregard the opinions of local people and are only representing their own personal views.
“There is no consistency as to how these applications are dealt with.”
But Councillor Rosemary Lock, the chairman of the planning committee, said: “Every planning application is determined after consideration of the development plan and all material considerations.
“Each case is considered on its own merits and decisions must be made on planning grounds.
“Members of the plans committee receive regular training and at all times have professional qualified planning officers available to guide and advise them.
“All comments are listened to, and representations from the relevant parish councils and members of the public are read.
“Councillors on the committee will only take a decision after consideration of all of the relevant issues.”
A council spokesman said all councillors had the opportunity to speak at the Plans Committee should they choose to do so, even if they are not on the committee.
During the meeting permission was also given to another 34.5 metre turbine at Dunstaple Farm in Holsworthy and a 25 metre turbine at Yelland Farm in High Bickington, near Umberleigh.