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Planning inspector throws out plans 250ft turbine near South Molton

Plans to erect a 250ft wind turbine near South Molton have been turned down by planning inspectors.

It follows an appeal hearing which saw Murex Energy criticise North Devon District Council for failing to make a decision on the plans for the 77-metre high turbine at Ash Mill, near South Molton.

Planning inspector Simon Hand, who visited the site in June, said he was “not satisfied” that the benefits of the renewable energy scheme “outweigh the harm identified”.

“I have found there would be harm to the character and appearance of the landscape where the proposal would be seen in close proximity to the Parsonage Farm turbine and there would be harm to the amenities of the occupiers of the dwellings at West and Middle Port,” he said.

“There would also be less than substantial harm to the setting of the grade one Church of St Mary and the grade two farmhouse at Lower Webbery. I am also not entirely satisfied that there would not be noise disturbance for the residents of West Port and possibly also Middle Port.”

Mr Hand ruled that the turbine did not represent “sustainable development”.

He concluded: “Against that harm there are the benefits of the provision of renewable energy, and the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. I am not satisfied that those benefits outweigh the harm identified.

“Additionally, although not critically, there is no substantiated evidence that the proposal would bring the level of energy suggested and there is no explanation why this particular size of turbine has been chosen when it is possible a smaller one could provide as much renewable energy.

“These points reinforce my conclusion that the benefits cited do not outweigh the harm in this case. Thus the appeal fails.”

Mr Hand also rejected the firm’s claim for costs against North Devon District Council which took too long to reach a decision on the original application.

In January, the council’s planning committee said it would have turned down the proposals had Murex not appealed.

Dozens of letters of objection were submitted to the council and several people spoke against the application at the meeting.

“Normally I would support a turbine if it was to support a business or farm but this I cannot support,” Councillor Jasmine Chesters told the meeting.

“It is industrial sized and in North Devon we have done our fair share. I think it is going to ruin too many people’s lives.”