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Turbine to be built in ‘unspoilt’ rural area

Mid Devon District Council planners have been blasted by members for failing to provide a list of all wind turbine and solar panel applications in the area.

A proposal for a 34m wind turbine on land at Appledore Farm, Bow, near Crediton, was approved by planners last week despite councillors not having access to a list which they argue would provide a better picture of the cumulative impact of such developments.

In a House of Commons debate last month, Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, declared: “Mid Devon appears to be the solar panel farm capital of the world, and the council is inundated with the number of applications.”

Due to the number of plans for such energy schemes planning committee members had asked for more information to help determine future applications.

Cllr Clive Eginton was “very disappointed” members still had not received the information they had requested.

He said: “I said a couple of meetings ago, we needed a report detailing all the wind turbine or solar array applications in Mid Devon. It is absolutely essential we have a list detailing what is in the planning process, what has been approved and what has been declined – without that it is very difficult to come to a balanced decision.”

Cllr Ray Stanley added “It was promised we would have information in front of us about how many turbine schemes are in the pipeline.”

Applicant Janet Blake said her family had lived at Appledore Farm for more than 50 years and their son is taking their dairy farming business into the next generation.

She said: “We have been looking at ways of increasing our green credentials and we decided a wind turbine would best suit our requirements. The turbine will help to secure the future viability of the farm business.”

The turbine is earmarked for land close to Two Moors Way, which is popular with tourists, and is only around four miles from the proposed Den Brook wind farm.

Objector Roland Smith, from Nymett Rowland, said: “A Devon County Council leaflet describes the Two Moors Way as ‘unspoilt rural scenery with a remote and tranquil feel difficult to find elsewhere in modern times’ and said this could be lost if a wind turbine was sited in such close proximity.”

Cllr Martin Binks said he knew the area well having previously lived near there for around 15 years.

He said: “It is a very isolated valley and very few people will be able to see this turbine. I can see no reason why we should refuse planning for it.”

Members approved the scheme subject to a number of conditions.