An application to erect a single wind turbine on land near Lifton received the thumbs down from planners at a meeting last week.
The scheme, proposed by Otterpower Limited was for a 50 metre hub height turbine of 77m tip height which would give an estimated output of 500 kilowatts.
The site is within open countryside, approximately 1.9 kilometres from Lifton.
Lifton Parish Councll had objected to the proposal, citing detrimental visual impact, turbine noise, distraction to traffic on the nearby A30, as did West Devon Borough Council’s landscape officer on the grounds of adverse visual impact upon the landscape.
Torridge District Council, Devon county Highways and the Ministry of Defence did not object.
West Devon planning officer Ben Dancer last Tuesday told the planning committee: ‘The proposed development by reason of its siting and scale in combination with proposed and consented turbines within this part of A30 corridor would lead to a proliferation of turbines dominating the landscape, causing significant harm to the scenic qualities of the local landscape and thus detracting from the landscape’s character.’
He also said it would have an ‘adverse impact’ upon the setting of heritage assets such as Wortham Manor (a grade one listed building) and Launceston Castle (scheduled ancient monument and a grade one listed building).
In conclusion Mr Dancer added that in recommending refusal he acknowledged the ‘positive contribution’ to be gained from renewable energy developments but this had to be balanced against the ‘considerable harm’ the proposal would have, in terms of the landscape and also the harmful effects to heritage assets.
Cllr Terry Pearce asked if the electricity produced would go into the National Grid system or be used locally and was told it would be the former.
Chris Edmonds, from Lifton Parish Council, said there would be a proliferation of turbines along the stretch of land along the A30 corridor if the scheme was approved.
Cllr Edmonds said: ‘A need for renewable energy does not necessarily make this right.
‘The parish council feel that any positive contribution to be gained by this turbine is significantly outweighed by the harmful impact on the local community’.
Otterpower Limited’s agent Peter Wonnacott said the objections outlined by the West Devon planning officer had overstated the impact on the views, the accumulative impact of proposed turbines as well as on nearby historical assets.
He added that on the borough council’s website poll there were 30 who supported the proposed turbine with only seven objections.
‘There is only one proposed turbine in the area (Lifton Farm Shop, which is currently under appeal) and I don’t think you could call that proliferation.
‘This would not constitute a windfarm landscape.’
Mr Wonnacott added that the proposals by Otterpower Ltd had been throughly researched and any objections were overstated.
Thrushel ward member Cllr Donald Horn supported the application.
He said: ‘The view of the parish council should be taken seriously as it does represent the views of the parish, but having said that I have heard very little objection from the parishioners.
‘I did talk to some young people about these turbines.
‘One girl from Tavistock College told me that her generation would think that if putting a windmill on top of a pole could help save the polar regions then they be happy to see it. So would I.’
The committee, except for one abstention, voted to refuse the application.
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