July 1, 2014

Victory for Michael Morpurgo as planners throw out wind turbine in Devon

Victory for Michael Morpurgo as planners throw out 15-storey wind turbine in Devon village which inspired War Horse after author said it would 'cast a shadow' | By Wills Robinson | Daily Mail | 1 July 2014 | www.dailymail.co.uk

Plans to build a 15-storey wind turbine in the middle of the countryside setting which inspired War Horse have been thrown out after opposition from author Michael Morpurgo.

The writer was joined by dozens of people who fought plans to install the 145ft tower in the picturesque village of Iddesleigh in Devon.

He argued the 225 kilowatt device would ‘despoil’ the rural community made famous by his First World War novel.

The story, about a young farmer and his horse Joey, spawned a West End play and a Hollywood blockbuster directed by Steven Spielberg.

His supporters also argued the £600,000 turbine would tower over the famous Tarka Trail, which is not far from the hall which sets the scene for the story of a young farm boy and his horse, Joey.

West Devon Borough Council rejected the Coombe Farm planning application last October but that decision was appealed.

However the Planning Inspectorate sided with villagers and reinforced the original decision on Monday, ruling that the development would harm the ‘appearance and character’ of the local landscape and listed buildings in the area.

Inspector Janice Trask said: ‘The proposal would provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and this warrants great weight.

‘However, this would not outweigh the significant harm I have identified.

Mr Morpurgo, 66, who lives in Iddesleigh, wrote to the council last year saying the turbine would ‘cast a shadow’ over the village.

He said: ‘As a result of the recent film and play based upon my book, War Horse, many more people are discovering the unique character of this corner of England, the farming country where Joey grew up before he was taken off as so many farm horses were to the First Word War.

‘However, the proposed wind turbine threatens to despoil the entire area – it will be intrusive to eye and ear, it will disturb the tranquillity and cast a shadow over all who come here, city child or visitor, and over those of us who live here and love this place.’

Edward Sweet, chairman of Iddesleigh Parish Council and one of nearly 300 people who wrote letters of objection to the turbine, said: ‘It was obvious from the amount of people that objected to this turbine that this decision would be taken. We are really happy about it. ‘

Generally people come down to Devon for the countryside and the peace and quiet. They don’t really want to be surrounded by these turbines.

‘Plus the fact is, you could put thousands of turbines up in Devon and it would only produce five or six percent of the energy people need.’

Penny Mills, Chairman of CPRE Devon (Campaign to Protect Rural England) said she was delighted with the decision to stop the building of the turbine which would have overshadowed ‘War Horse Valley.

She said: ‘​Iddesleigh and the surrounding area is a particularly beautiful and tranquil unspoilt part of Devon.

‘This 150ft noisy, rotating machine would have been totally unacceptable in this location, which is why we objected to the proposal.

‘The benefit in terms of electricity generated and emission savings would have been insignificant from this proposal and this insignificant benefit does not outweigh the harm in terms of adverse impact on the local amenity.

‘However, there are already 95 turbines permitted, another 37 in planning and 18 in appeal ​in West Devon and Torridge alone including in this area around ‘War Horse Valley’ – Winkleigh, Dowland, Hatherleigh

​’If all were approved this would mean more than one turbine to every square mile and a quarter.

‘The numbers are staggering and these commercial ventures are fundamentally changing our once beautiful landscape here – a countryside and landscape which is valuable with tourism so important to our economy.

‘We are all now living in a giant wind farm here, which nobody asked for and only a handful of people benefit from.

‘The area continues to be bombarded with these proposals, so this beautiful part of Devon is still under enormous threat.’

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2014/07/01/victory-for-michael-morpurgo-as-planners-throw-out-wind-turbine-in-devon/