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Turbine passed after plans boss warns of costs

A further single wind turbine has been approved by Torridge District Council (TDC) after the head of planning spoke out about the disadvantages of refusing turbine applications.

Kate Little, the strategic joint head of planning for both TDC and North Devon Council, made the comments at TDC’s planning committee meeting on Thursday.

Councillors were deliberating over an application for a 34.4-metre turbine at East Ash Farm in Bradworthy near Holsworthy.

The turbine is the second for the diary farm and some councillors were concerned the electricity produced by the second turbine might simply be a form of diversification for the farm rather than supplying power to the farm buildings.

But Mrs Little warned that motives for submitting a planning application cannot be taken into account when determining an application.

She said: “Motives are not part of a planning decision, we are not winning at appeals. I don’t know why but we are beginning to suffer quite a lot of costs from this.

“That is up to you as councillors to decide whether that is where you want to spend money.

“If you keep giving it away to the planning inspectorate you don’t have the advantage of deciding the application on your terms.

“You can get community benefits from wind farm and turbine proposals. This isn’t going away.

“You are in a difficult situation.

“It seems to me you are only judging this on accumulative impact. To date no one has managed to win on the accumulative argument.

“The high chance is you will lose this at appeal.”

Councillor Mervyn Langmead then proposed the application should be approved.

But Councillor Chris Leather, who earlier in the meeting had said the council was “sleep walking into the accumulative impact”, disagreed.

He said: “This turbine will mean there is twice the impact there already is in this area.

“We are here for the representation of Torridge.”

Joanna Maynard, from Stags acting as an agent for the farmers, confirmed during the meeting the extra turbine would mean the farm’s 350 dairy herd could increase by 200.

It was also confirmed the turbine will only be 130 metres from the nearest property, rather than the distance of 385 metres stated in the planning report.

The application was approved by councillors with a majority of one vote.