Villagers who campaigned against plans for a wind turbine in their community are celebrating after planners rejected the proposal – against officers’ advice.
Members of Cornwall Council’s east sub-area planning committee voted 9-3 against the application by farmer Chris Parsons for a 500kW three-bladed turbine on a 50-metre mast at Beacon, South Petherwin.
The committee said the visual impact of the turbine, which would have measured 77 metres overall and was opposed by South Petherwin Parish Council and many residents, would be too great.
Mr Parsons, who spoke in defence of his plans at the meeting at Liskeard, later told the Cornish Guardian he would be listening to people before deciding whether to appeal against the decision.
He said the turbine would have provided power for 300 homes and brought £5,000 a year in community benefit to South Petherwin.
Fran Dennison, clerk to South Petherwin Parish Council, said they were opposed because one turbine had already been erected in the parish, at Trevozah Cross, and a turbine at Storm on the Pennygillam Estate in Launceston would be visible from the village.
Applications for four more turbines were currently going through the planning process, and this would constitute an unacceptable proliferation of turbines in and around one small village.
“Not only is this turbine at Beacon too close to the centre of the village and too intrusive to too many residents; the mere fact that it’s the Beacon indicates that it’s the highest point in the area and will be seen from miles around, including Launceston town and the castle,” she said.
Mrs Dennison said the proposed turbine was 600 metres from the whole village centre, not just one residence.
“It will dominate the village and, although the planning statement indicates otherwise, it will be seen clearly from the church,” she said.
“Trees aren’t a reliable shield for turbines; they can be cut down or die, even in churchyards.
“To sanction this turbine would be asking too many people to sacrifice too much for the profit of the landowner and an indeterminate and inefficient generation of electricity,” she said.
“The detrimental effect on the residents of South Petherwin and the surrounding area will not be offset by the relatively insignificant amount of electricity generated.”
She said the parish council also asked that any promise of community benefit be discussed only if a decision were made to approve turbine applications, adding: “In the eyes of the public, community benefit and bribery are very close cousins.”
Planning officer Mark Evans had said in his report to the committee that the proposed turbine would make a positive contribution toward the generation of renewable energy.
“There are not considered to be sustainable grounds for refusal based on ecology, neighbour impact, archaeology or highway safety,” he wrote.
“The landscape can accommodate this additional turbine without unacceptably eroding its quality or substantially harming the setting of the designated heritage assets within it.”
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