An application for a wind turbine in Rackenford has been refused despite a recommendation for it to be approved.
The turbine, measuring over 60 metres in height, was to be located at Sydeham Farm together with infrastructure to support it.
The application was submitted by Sydewind Ltd on March 29 and has drawn considerable attention from residents, parish councils and other organisations.
There were 175 letters of representation submitted to North Devon Council including 22 letters of support and 147 objections.
A pre-meeting report recommended that the application be approved subject to conditions, despite the overwhelming objections against it.
Rackenford and Creacombe, Stoodleigh, Knowstone and Templeton parish councils all raised objections against the turbine, primarily down to fears that it would be harmful to the surrounding area.
There were concerns about the proximity of nearby houses, the visual impact of the turbine and the amount of energy it would actually produce.
At North Devon Council’s planning committee meeting on September 5, members of the public turned out to voice their concerns.
Graham Lamb, from Rackenford and Creacombe Parish Council, said: “This is a 61-metre turbine to be situated in an especially beautiful valley. It would be seen from many points, including Exmoor.
“We support farm diversification schemes but this is not that.”
David Morgans, from Knowstone Parish Council, said no decision should be made before the appeal decision on nine wind turbines at Batsworthy Cross.
He said: “Batsworthy Cross has been hanging over our heads for six years. You should not be making this decision prior to that.
“Should this be passed then neighbouring parishes will be put under enormous strain to keep parishes in the condition that is attractive to all.”
Reference was made to the Pearson report which was commissioned by North Devon Council and released in 1993 that identified sites suitable for wind farms in the area.
Bob Barfoot, from Campaign for Rural England, said that the Rackenford site was in an area that was not deemed suitable for turbines.
He said: “I wrote to the planning officer explaining all this but there is no mention of it in the report.”
Mike Kelly, planning manager at North Devon Council, said the Pearson report only mentioned general areas and did not refer to specific applications.
There were concerns about the calculations of how much electricity the turbine would produce, with a suggestion from one speaker that the figure had been exaggerated by 50 per cent.
Dr Philip Brackby, a retired energy consultant, said at the meeting: “For some reason the officer has ignored the evidence about the electricity that would be produced and has taken the applicant’s word for it. This is not an ideal location for a wind turbine.”
Roger Willcox, an ex-dairy farmer who lives at Thorfins farm, 425 metres from the proposed turbine site, said no consideration had been made about the lane that would be used to transport the turbine to the farm.
He said: “The applicant is playing the green card when really it is the greed card.”
Councillor Jeremy Yabsley said: “Many of us were on the site visit and found ourselves looking into a wonderful secluded valley. I do not necessarily go against all wind turbines but this is a very large turbine.”
Spectators clapped and cheered when a unanimous decision was made to refuse the application.
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