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Windpower protester threatens hedge siege

A landowner is refusing to have his hedge banks cut down to allow access for a proposed wind turbine – an action he believes could stop the application from being app-roved.
Ewen Southby-Tailyour says he will ‘take out an injunction to prevent hedges at Lower Preston Farm, near Westlake, from being destroyed’ – which, he said, could prevent REG Wind-power from transporting components for its proposed 90m wind turbine to nearby Luson Farm.
REG Windpower said it was ‘erring on the side of caution in the planning application’ and sought to reassure Mr Southby-Tailyour that his banks would not be affected.
But he claims that he was never consulted or reassured and added that REG needs his full consent before it can do anything.
Transport survey company PlantSpeed said that in order to access the site via the lane to Westlake, ‘the last left hand bend before the site would need to be widened by 0.7 metres over 15 metres to allow components to pass without any hindrances’.
The plans also show a hedge which would need to be removed completely to allow the trailer carrying the turbine to turn a corner.
Mr Southby-Tail-your said: ‘I have sent a letter to REG Windpower detailing my concerns and I’ve spoken to representatives from PlantSpeed.
‘They confirmed that to transport the turbine past Lower Preston Farm’s boundary it will be imperative to carry out the work as detailed in its photographs, or the turbine will not reach its destination except by an alternative route.
‘Permission to carry out this demolition work will need to be sought, formally, from me before the operation can begin.
‘I have taken legal advice and, unless REG assures me that no damage will occur to any of my banks, then I shall instruct my legal team to seek an injunction through the courts to prevent any damage to my property.
‘In effect, that will mean an injunction preventing any such movement along the road to Westlake past Lower Preston Farm, as detailed in the planning application.’
A spokesman for REG Windpower said: ‘We always look to assess the worst case scenario in our planning applications.
‘At Luson Farm we are applying for a turbine of up to 86.5m maximum height.
‘This leaves us with the scope for a number of practicable options.
‘In relation to accessing the proposed site at Luson Farm, we have assured the owner of the property in question that we will not require any modification to the property.
‘We are confident we can achieve access to the site without the need to do so.’
But Mr Southby-Tailyour said: ‘I and my legal team are still waiting for a formal response.
‘Following any response from REG Windpower, that injunction will be sought before the end of this week and a formal letter will be sent to REG and copied to the case officer at South Hams Council, detailing this course of action.’
REG Windpower and South Hams Council planning officer Dean Kinsella also met with residents last Wednesday for a question and answer session about the proposed turbine.
It has already proved a contentious issue, with 400 letters of objection and a handful in favour of the proposal submitted to South Hams Council.
Village stalwart Bob Knightley said the meeting was productive, but emotions were running high.
‘I’ve lived here 20 years,’ he said, ‘and I have never known anything as divisive.
‘As well as what’s being constructed, residents are asking how it’s being constructed, and many are concerned about access.
‘Around 70 people attended the meeting and it really was standing room only.
‘Although some took time making statements, rather than asking questions of REG Windpower, most left feeling a bit more knowledgeable, whet-her they agreed with the proposals or not.’
Council officers will consider the plans and comments from today, but residents are still able to submit letters to South Hams Council until September 5.
To view the full application or to submit a comment visit www.southhams.gov.uk and type in planning application number 21/1640/13/.
Alternatively, you can write to South Hams District Council, Follaton House, Plymouth Road, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5NE.