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Wind turbine plan thrown out after parish objections

Proposals to build a 77m high wind turbine close to five villages on the outskirts of Frome have been thrown out by Mendip planners.

The application by G2 was for the single turbine at Rookhouse Farm, in Chantry, and had been recommended for approval by planning officers.

However, last Wednesday night, Mendip District Council’s planning committee decided the impact on listed buildings including Leigh on Mendip Church, known as the Jewel of Mendip; its proximity to Asham Wood, the largest and most diverse of ancient semi-natural woods in the Mendips; the impact on protected species such as the peregrine falcon and the effect it could have on tourism in the area were reasons why the application should be rejected.

Whatley, Mells, Leigh on Mendip and Doulting Parish Councils all objected to the turbine and the district council received 227 letters giving reasons why the turbine should not be allowed.

Resident James Alexandroff described wind turbines in general as inefficient and prehistoric structures which would be redundant in the near future.

Mr Alexandroff described it as “sacrilege” to allow the turbine to go ahead, opening a “Pandora’s Box for every farmer and quarry owner from Chapmanslade to Cheddar” putting in applications for wind turbines.

Edmund Costelloe, on behalf of Mells Parish Council, said that there had been huge opposition to the turbine which would harm the local tourism industry and leave a scar on the landscape.

Councillor Nigel Taylor said it was the council’s duty to listen to its parish councils.

Mr Taylor was also concerned about the dangers to the peregrine falcon, a protected bird.

The county ecologist had raised initial concern about the potential effect on peregrines, but on balance considered the risk was probably low.

Planning officer Oliver Marigold concluded that the application should be recommended because it would benefit the public through production of renewable energy and contribute towards meeting regional and national carbon reduction targets.

Peter Hill, on behalf of G2, said the company would give £60,000 to the community over the 25-year period the turbine would be located at Chantry, a sum dismissed as derisory by Frome councillor Damon Hooton.

The refusal was met with a burst of applause from the large contingent of villagers.