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Council fears losing turbine appeal  

Credit:  Tom Wright, Reporter | Weston Mercury | Saturday, February 22, 2014 | www.thewestonmercury.co.uk ~~

A village is set to undergo a ‘big change’ with ‘very unpopular’ plans for two wind turbines taking a step forward.

Smart Systems Ltd wants to install turbines, 300m apart, as part of a major expansion of its site which will create new jobs in Yatton.

Cllr Tony Moulin, one of the village’s representatives on North Somerset Council, said the community is generally against more industry in the area.

He said: “We are talking about a 100 per cent increase of the footprint of this company.

“People are saying ‘if we are going to have this then the potential harm must be outweighed by the benefits’.

“Should we be encouraging expansion like this is a rural area? My own view, like many others, is that we shouldn’t.

“What concerns me is what is enough? Could we see a phase four coming?”

Smart Systems, based in Arnolds Way, won an appeal to build a turbine and a second phase to its premises last month, after several years of battling the council.

The authority objected to the negative impact the wind turbine would have on the landscape.

But an independent planning inspectorate ruled the benefits to the local economy outweighed the council’s concerns.

While those proceedings were ongoing, Smart lodged another planning application to expand the factory into phase three, including the construction of a second 79m-high turbine.

The council voted against the plans and Smart’s appeal will be heard next month – but the authority concedes it is unlikely to go in its favour.

Cllr Annabel Tall, who represents Yatton, said the result must be accepted despite it being ‘very, very unpopular’. Fellow district councillor Jill Iles said it would result in a ‘big change’ to the village.

However Smart’s plans did win support from some councillors.

Cllr Tom Leimdorfer, leader of the council’s Independent/Green group, said his concern was for the potential impact on views from areas such as Cadbury Hill.

He said: “I think that site is suitable as it already has a lot of infrastructure.

“In relation to the wind turbine I generally look at these favourably.

“Unless the second turbine is in a much worse place then I don’t think it is significantly different.”

A two-day appeal against the phase three development will be heard in Weston on March 26.

In light of the recent appeal in Smart’s favour, the council has prepared a list of 27 conditions the firm must comply with ahead if Smart is successful again.

They vary from hours building work can be carried out to ensuring mud is not brought onto Yatton’s roads by lorries.

Cllr Leimdorfer added: “We all know that going through Yatton is a nightmare and dangerous, especially for children.

“I’m anxious lorries don’t come through the High Street and all the lorries come from the north.”

Planning officers confirmed a restriction would be put in place if Smart Systems gets the go-ahead to proceed with phase three.

Source:  Tom Wright, Reporter | Weston Mercury | Saturday, February 22, 2014 | www.thewestonmercury.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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