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‘Our rights were ignored’

Torridge District Council could be threatened with a judicial review after councillors approved a wind turbine which objectors say infringes the humans rights of a partially-sighted pensioner living nearby.

Planning permission was granted to the 25 metre turbine at Yelland Farm, High Bickington at the council’s plans committee meeting on Thursday.

But objectors claim people were not given enough warning about the pending application, particularly for someone who is partially sighted like 88-year-old Diana Peirce.

Liam Bunclark, who lives in Shuteley, said: “In the environmental plan it states everyone in the vicinity of the application should be consulted but no one was consulted and more than 100 people had submitted objections.

“There is a visually impaired person living very near. She should have been consulted.

“She will be affected by the flicker and by the fact that she has heightened other senses like hearing, which will be affected by the turbine’s noise.

“It is a breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

“We are not against turbines but it is in the wrong place, it is right at the boundary of the farm, as far from the farm house as possible.”

Mr Bunclark said on Tuesday that the feasibility of a judicial review was being looked into.

Councillors did discuss during the meeting the option of deferring the application so a different site could be looked at.

But planning officer David Green advised the committee that if it deferred and a different site was decided upon, a new application would be needed.

He recommended that councillors should only look at the options of approving or refusing.

Mr Green said he was satisfied that the right notifications had been carried out with nearby residents.

The application was approved with a majority of one vote.

Following the decision, Eileen Morris, Mrs Peirce’s daughter, said she felt as though she had been bullied into a corner.

Mrs Morris, 58, lives at Shuteley Farm with her mother, which will be slightly more than 300 metres away from the turbine.

She said: “We were all shocked no one from Yelland Farm had come over.

“Mum has to do everything via touch and feel so any noise puts her off. There is no such thing as a silent turbine. I feel we have been bullied into a corner.

“My husband and I chose to live here 20 years ago because it is so peaceful.

“I am disappointed that no one has been listening, it is awful, the injustice of it all.

“I feel we haven’t been thought about at all.”

But Tony Carver, from Natural Energy the agents who submitted the application, said: “It is a complete non-subject as far as noise is concerned. I find it amazing people can be so economical with the truth.

“It is a small micro 11KW turbine and is so quiet.

“It simply isn’t an issue. She might be partially sighted but only if she is in the field would she hear it.

“Luckily common sense prevailed. There was only one site available for the turbine, I was amazed it went to committee at all.

“We all have got our rights but when it isn’t an issue that isn’t an argument.”

The district council said: “All comments made by members of the public were fully considered before a decision was made.”