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Objectors to huge Princes Gate wind turbines plan new legal challenge

Objectors to plans for two giant wind turbines intend to mount a further legal challenge after the scheme was given the go-ahead again last week.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee approved the two 800kw turbines, which Princes Gate Spring Water want to help power their new bottle-blowing plant.

Permission for the turbines at Middleton Top, Ludchurch, was originally granted last July.

Residents then threatened a judicial review, which the council decided not to contest and planning permission was quashed by the High Court. Last week members again agreed a recommendation to approve the development.

A report by officers concluded that the plan would not have “any significant adverse impact” and any “limited adverse impacts would be outweighed by the scheme’s contribution to renewable energy production.”

Princes Gate Spring Water’s operations director Endaf Edwards said the turbines would help secure 100 local jobs.

Speaking on behalf of SOS Pembrokeshire, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) and other local objectors, Mary McGregor said the turbines would be “a blot on Pembrokeshire’s historical skyline”.

She said there would be negative impacts on the archaeological, historical and natural landscape, as well as tourism, and problems with noise and shadow flicker. “This isn’t about being for or against wind turbines – this is about policy being interpreted rightly and I would suggest it hasn’t been,” she added, amid claps from the public gallery.

“This council has already paid for its misjudgement, including residents’ costly [legal] fees, and we would ask you do not do it again.”

Another issue raised by objectors included the negative impact on the nearby Belle Vue Equestrian Centre. Centre owners David and Isabel Scourfield have been told by their own and other insurers they would no longer be able to obtain public liability insurance, because of the potential visual and noise risk posed to horses and riders by turbines.

Councillor Brian Hall moved the officers’ recommendation and said: “I think this has been going round for some time and I totally support approval.” But Councillor Peter Stock said: “Tourism is still our backbone and we need to be very, very careful at the end of the day that we do not do anything that will affect that.” Refusal was recommended by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust but the vote went for the development.

Following the meeting Mary Sinclair, chairman of the Pembrokeshire branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) said the consortium of local residents objecting to the scheme would be ‘resuming all previous grounds and including others’ in returning to Judicial Review proceedings.

She said that the branch is ‘very concerned’ at the consent, and it was felt that Pembrokeshire County Council had failed to consider a number of points.

Mrs Sinclair said: “Princes Gate Spring Water is a company happy to publicise its charitable acts, but this charity is lacking when dealing with their neighbours.”

She said that Mr and Mrs Scourfield of Belle Vue had co-operated with the company in April 2012 by allowing them to put an electricity line to be taken through their land.

“In return, the company’s tubines will probably wipe out their business”, she added.