August 15, 2013

Residents angered over wind turbine

Shepton Mallet Journal | August 14, 2013 |

There were outbursts and demands for resignations at a stormy Evercreech Parish Council meeting last week.

It came as the council backed controversial proposals for a 67-metre high wind turbine.

The project, which if approved would be situated at the Bath and West Showground, won its support despite objections from residents in the village and neighbouring Prestleigh.

Evelyn Evans, a resident from Evercreech who organised a signature gathering concerning the wind turbine, accused the parish councillors of failing in their duties by not consulting villagers properly about the proposal.

She said: “I think the parish council owes the people of Evercreech an explanation as to why they have been so apathetic in this regard.

“It is my opinion that those who were in the know and who did absolutely nothing are not fit for purpose and should resign.”

Dr Jane Guise, chief executive of the Royal Bath and West of England Society, which runs the showground, told the meeting that the showground currently uses 1.2 million kWh (units) per year at a cost of £120,000.

Generating its own power on site would provide the showground with 40 per cent self sufficiency.

She argued any noise the turbine might make would not reach any homes in Evercreech or Prestleigh, however, if any nearby residences did suffer from shadow flicker or interference on their TVs the showground would be responsible for resolving any issues at its own cost.

She said the community benefit would be £40,000 – to be shared between the parishes of Evercreech and Doulting, which includes Prestleigh, where residents fear they will be most affected.

Parish councillor Murray Stuart, who described the turbine idea as a vanity project and totally uneconomic, declared: “One turbine sitting in the middle of the Bath and West Showground will have no effect at all on your supply.”

District councillor Peter Bradshaw said Mendip Council currently had no policy on wind turbines or photovoltaic electricity and that there needed to be one.

But parish councillor Ian Elliott reminded people that the showground provided a lot of employment and income for many people, including its own staff and businesses involved in the many events it stages all year round and said there was no reason at all not to pass the turbine scheme.

Parish councillor Rob Reed said whether or not the proposal was financially sustainable was not a planning issue, however, the country needed to do something about providing more energy as gas supplies were running out.

Both he and Councillor Roy Williams agreed it would not have any effect on the people living in Evercreech.

Parish council chairman Andrew Doble said the showground should be supported and encouraged in its activities.

The council recommended approval of the application but the final decision will rest with planning bosses at Mendip District Council.

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