Feelings an high at a recent meeting of residents in Lifton as they discussed plans for a third turbine in the village, which one resident said would leave them ‘totally surrounded‘. The meeting, at the Arundel Arms, was held by the newly formed Lifton and Lyd Valley Action Group to raise awareness of the ‘screening opinion’ request to West Devon Borough Council for a wind turbine at Ridgecombe Farm. A screening opinion allows applicants to find out whether a proposal requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before making a planning application. More than 110 residents attended the meeting, at which a ‘blimp’ was flown to demonstrate the height and location of the proposed turbine – although due to the weather it was unable to be flown at full height. West Devon Borough Council’s chief planning officer attended the meeting, along with members of MABRAKE (Milton Abbot, Bradstone and Kelly Action Group) and Penny Mills, chair of the Devon branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). Resident and Lifton and Lyd Valley Action Group committee member Jen Cozens said: ‘The meeting was held to make people aware of what was happening and that there are plans for another turbine. Flying the blimp brought home exactly where it was going to be – it will be really high. ‘We have already got two turbines and they want to put another 250ft one, the same size as another one here, on the other side of the village. ‘We will be totally surrounded. A lot of people rely on the holiday trade for their businesses and these are ruining the countryside.’ In a statement from West Devon Borough Council on the potential wind turbine planning application for Lifton, a spokesperson said: ‘This application has not yet been received by the council. ‘However, we were asked by the applicant to provide a “screening opinion“. Our opinion is that the applicant will need to provide an environmental statement with the planning application. ‘David Cooper, a senior planning officer with West Devon Borough Council, recently attended a public meeting of the Lifton and Lyd Valley Action Group to explain the screening opinion and planning application process.’ A spokesman from applicants Aardvark said: ‘We recognise the concerns of the local community about the development of a turbine at Ridgecombe Farm. ‘An information sheet and feedback form inviting comments on the proposal was circulated as part of the pre-application consultation undertaken. ‘We have received a number of responses both in support as well as objecting to the proposal. ‘All these comments, where they raise material planning considerations along with the council’s Environmental Impact Assessment screening opinion, are taken on board in finalising the scheme that will be submitted as part of a planning application to ensure that all potential impacts are identified and assessed appropriately. ‘It is the applicant’s intention to submit a full planning application to allow the council to assess the proposals fully as to whether in terms of planning policy it is acceptable or not. ‘At this stage, the local community and all interested parties will be able to comment on the proposals again once they have had the opportunity to review all the supporting information.’
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