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Parish council calls for refusal of turbine plans

Plans to build a 95 metre wind turbine and a 60 metre weather station at East Horrington, near Wells, have been recommended for refusal.

The application for the site at Victoria Farm was discussed at the last meeting of St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council planning committee.

The committee considered the application and after recommending that Mendip District Council refuse it they issued a statement explaining their reasons.

“The turbine would be within 1,000 metres of 20 houses which would cause noise and flicker to the residents.

“The site is within 1,000 metres of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It would be clearly visible from all over the Mendip Hills, being higher that the peak of Mendips and it would be visible from the area to the south, south west and the Somerset Levels.”

They also pointed out that a 1988 survey into the water supply that feeds St Andrew’s Well highlighted that there was a spring at the nearby Slab House Inn.

This feeds the springs that give the city of Wells its name.

This raised concerns that as the water course follows the footpath that crosses part of the proposed site construction work could pollute this water course.

Pegasus Planning Group on behalf of the applicant, Clearwinds, have produced a planning statement in favour of the proposal.

The statement reads: “The principle of development is considered to be acceptable within this countryside location due to the overriding need for renewable energy and the effective siting and scale of the proposals which are considered acceptable within the local landscape.”

The application is being submitted as part of a Somerset Community Wind Co-operative scheme which aims to own the proposed turbine.

The co-operative has been set up by Energy4All, a not-for-profit social enterprise which helps communities to own their own renewable energy projects. This scheme will allow local people the opportunity to purchase a stake in the wind project, with share ownership priority given to those closest the site.

The surplus revenue generated by the sale of the electricity produced by the wind turbine will be distributed to co-op members through an annual share interest payment. The company says this would keep the financial benefits of the project in Somerset.

Richard Lyons, of Rookery Farm, would have the turbine in full view from his sitting room window.

Mr Lyons said: “I have been sent a council leaflet stating we are entitled to enjoy our environment.

“How we are going to do that with a turbine on our doorstep?

“This turbine would be 575 metres from our house and directly in front of us. That is far too close. We would hear the constant whoosh, whoosh of the blades. The noise problem is not in the decibels so much, but in the nature of the noise. One might get used to a constant drone, but one that comes and goes is another matter.”

St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council have requested guidance from Mendip for dealing with future applications of this type.

A spokesperson said: “At present parish councils are dealing with applications piecemeal, without the benefit of planning guidance.”

In response a Mendip spokesperson said: “Guidelines are something we want to put together in the near future.

“We can offer training for parish councils regarding planning and if St Cuthbert (Out) are interested it is something we can set up.”