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Bourton locals call for wind turbine plans to be pulled

Nearly 100 members of the public attended a meeting of Bourton Parish Council on Monday to discuss a proposal on behalf of local district and parish councillor Geoffrey Miller for two wind turbines on his land.

A request was made this month by Hallmark Power for a decision from North Dorset District Council on whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be needed for their planning application for two 50-metre turbines to the south of Chaffeymoor.

The site is close to that for which a wind farm with four 120-metre turbines was planned but rejected on appeal earlier this month after a massive campaign against it headed by the Bourton community.

Mr Miller, who was repeatedly asked whether he would withdraw the proposal if the entire community was against it, finally agreed to consider it, but repeated his comments reported last week that the scheme on his land was not comparable to that proposed at nearby Silton, and that he believed people should do what they could to find acceptable renewable energy sources.

He commented after the meeting that a large number of those attending were not from the village.

But the meeting resolved unanimously that a full EIA should be produced, and declared its equally unanimous opposition to the construction of the turbines.

The parish council will ask NDDC to conduct an EIA due to concerns about heritage and landscape issues as reflected by the planning inspector in the recent Silton appeal decision.

The parish council also agreed to request that, since the land is owned by and the project backed by their local representative, a district councillor for a neighbouring ward should be invited to present the views of the Bourton community to North Dorset.

Chairman Simon Firbank said his council had been unaware of the application until the last minute, and only at the meeting learnt that it was the deadline that day for comments.

NDDC planning officer Hannah Smith, who attended the meeting, offered to extend the deadline for comments from the public to Monday 3rd December.

Villager Andrew Sturt said: “If people wish to comment on the need for a full Environmental Impact Assessment then they can do so in writing to NDDC quoting application number 2/2012/1432/PLNG or by email to devcontrol@north-dorset.gov.uk.

“Our community can make its views known at this critical early stage of what will undoubtedly be another long debate on turbines in the Vale.”