A couple living in an idyllic part of Devon say their enjoyment of the countryside has been “ruined” after they became sandwiched between two wind turbines.
Following the installation of a second 130ft (40m) turbine at a farm 310m away, Gareth and Pam Down, can now see masts through the front and back windows of their home at Lower Punchardon Farm, near Winkleigh.
In fact, there is almost no escaping the spinning blades, which are even visible as a moving reflection in glass doors, kitchen appliances and the flat-screen television.
Pam, a school administrator who underwent a series of operations in 2010 after being diagnosed cancer in 2007 , said the pair were still “in shock” at the size of the latest tower, which went up a week ago after a two-year battle.
“You open the curtains in the morning and it is the first thing you see, I don’t think there’s a window you can’t see a turbine through, she added.
“It’s huge, a monstrosity – even when you are not looking at it your eye is drawn to the reflection in the cabinets, the cooker, even the TV – there’s just no getting away from it.
“The impact is intrusive, overbearing and it ruins our outlook, there’s no doubt about that, but my real concern is the noise because it is such a quiet area and it could really affect us at nigh time, especially as we are sandwiched between the two.
“It has caused a lot of stress and anxiety.”
Neighbour Rodney Cowle put up the turbine – the height of a 12-storey building – last Saturday to provide an income and electricity for his farm machinery business, at Great Punchardon Farm.
Mr Cowle told the Western Morning News that consideration had been given to the positioning of the mast to lessen the visual impact for neighbours and not just “plonked” in the spot which best suited his viewpoint.
“We have put up a small-scale turbine to run our family business,” he added.
“Everything has been done legally – if people want to complain they should complain to the Government.”
The turbine, is the latest of around 30 planned schemes in an eight-mile radius.
Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon Geoffrey Cox says the area has reached “tipping” point”.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says they are destroying the landscape and in nearby Iddesleigh, author Michael Murpurgo has opposed masts in the area which forms the backdrop to his novel, War Horse.
The Downs, who are both 53 and have lived in their bungalow for 32 years, opposed the plans when they were approved by Torridge District Council in January but feel the committee ignored concerns over how their “residential amenity” was affected.
Family gatherings at the outdoor decked dining area with the couple’s two daughters will now be dominated by the taller turbine, which the they fear will be noisy when combined with the existing 82ft (24m) mast, 230 metres away at Wheatland Farm.
“The decking is a place we sit and relax – the stress of all this and having that area taken away from us is disgusting,” added Gareth, a part-time farmer, with 40 acres of land.
“I have lived here all my life and when you think of all the planning restrictions there are yet somebody can put a 40-metre monstrosity like this in the middle of the countryside – “I just cannot believe these things are getting the go-ahead. “If we could challenge it without costing a fortune we would.”
Roland Smith, a local CPRE member, said the cumulative impact in the area was not being given enough weight by the council planners.
“It is like a wind farm by stealth,” he added.
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