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Protesters rejoice after plan for six ‘Big Ben’ turbines is rejected

Fears of six turbines nearly the size of Big Ben being erected near Holsworthy have been quashed after Torridge District Council rejected plans for the wind farm.

The proposal for the 86-metre turbines at Wheelers Cross near Sutcombe, had outraged many people living in the villages nearby as they feel they have been swamped by the large number of turbines being erected around them.

The developers behind the scheme, Wind Prospect Developments Ltd, said if the wind farm was approved it would produce enough electricity for 4,555 homes a year.

But at the council’s plans committee meeting, councillors considered the officers’ report which recommended the application should be refused on five grounds.

These included the impact the development would create on the surrounding area, including the conservation zone of Bradworthy, the amount of noise they would produce, and the failure of the developers to supply sufficient bird and noise surveys.

At the meeting four people spoke objecting to the plans including Keith Tomlin, from Bradworthy Parish Council.

Mr Tomlin said: “There are 85 existing and proposed wind farms within 10km of Bradworthy.

“There is a lack of photomontages provided to show the effect the turbines will have which has been highlighted by Natural England. The area is home to migrating birds such as starlings and the blade flicker will affect them and cause disruption to the television signal.”

He also claimed that ancient woodland would be damaged.

Another objector, Pauline Green, said: “This is all about size and scale. These turbines would almost be the height of Big Ben, except Big Ben is in the centre of London. Your decision has to be about what is reasonable.

“We have our fair share of turbines in the area already, the area is becoming saturated. If you don’t stop approving these applications who will want to live and visit this area?”

Committee chairman, Councillor Rosemary Lock, highlighted the comment from English Heritage which pointed out how loosely set out the turbines would be and their scale.

After the meeting Anna Grabis, who has been campaigning against the wind farm for seven years, said it was overwhelming to see the application being turned down.

She said: “It may be appealed but I am hopeful the inspector would not approve the application. We will just have to wait and see.”

Alastair Smith, senior development manager at Wind Prospect Renewables, said: “We are not surprised but disappointed.

“There was not much discussion by the councillors so of course we are concerned they didn’t consider it enough.

“I can’t say if we will appeal at this stage. We need to wait for the decision notice to come through.”