Plans for a test mast for a wind farm in the Kent countryside have been thrown out by councillors.
Shepway’s development control committee unanimously voted against the scheme last night to the delight of protesters in the public gallery.
Applicants Ecotricity say the 70-metre mast is needed for its long-term plans to build a six-turbine wind farm at Snave in Romney Marsh and it may now appeal.
Cllr Alan North said: “This would be a wind farm carbuncle on the Marsh and we don’t want a wind farm there full stop.”
Ecotricity had made an application to have the meteorological mast with supporting cables for 18 months, off Ashford Road, to test wind speed and direction in preparation for its planned wind farm.
But Cllr Philip Martin commented: “These temporary applications have a habit of becoming permanent.”
At least 25 people, mostly protesters, filled the public gallery and often applauded councillors when they spoke.
Cllr Russell Tillson said: “This application would cause harm to the environment in exchange for no economic benefit and would produce no energy.”
Cllr Peter Simmons said: “This would be the thin end of a totally unacceptable wedge. It will form a blot on the landscape and produce no employment.”
Cllr Michael Lyons said: “The economic benefit is basically zilch. I find this mast rather offensive.”
Cllr Richard Pascoe revealed that he has lived under a 60-metre mast for 20 years.
He said: “Those who say there will be no noise are misguided. With wind you get a horrendous screaming noise from the supporting cables.”
The application had widespread opposition with six parish and town councils against it and attracting 139 letters of protest.
Many feared the test mast would pave the way for a new wind farm, which would be widely unpopular on the Marsh.
But councillors were able to turn down the application on the planning merits of the mast itself.
It was thrown out on the grounds that the height and supports of the structure would be intrusive, harmful to the environment and provide no economic benefit.
The vote went against an officers’ recommendation to approve.
More in this week’s Kentish Express.
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