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Turbine battle back on  

Credit:  Kingsbridge & Salcombe Gazette | 28 November 2014 | www.kingsbridge-today.co.uk ~~

Objectors are once again gearing up to do battle over plans for a 34-metre-high electricity-generating wind ­turbine on a hilltop in the South Hams.

The proposal, put forward by the owners of Winslade Farm, near Frogmore, last autumn, had been approved once by South Hams councillors, before being quashed after a resident brought a judicial review.

The application will be discussed and probably decided at South Hams Council’s development management committee meeting on Wednesday.

A well-organised new group called the Friends of the South Hams is opposing the plans. The group is keen to point out that the South Hams Council planning officer in the case has once again recommended refusal on the basis that it would be detrimental to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and that it would affect the setting of various listed ­buildings and ancient monuments, according to English Heritage.

The application was approved in May by the DMC, despite the ­planning officer recommending refusal, while August’s judicial review was successful on the grounds that the district council had not notified English Heritage of the application.

A spokesman for the Friends said: ‘All people want is that the DMC listen to the local community and take note of the impact on heritage sites and the AONB.’

In a statement released this week, the group added: ‘The council officers and other experts have now clearly identified that the harm that would be caused by the proposed turbine could only be accepted in planning law if the proposed ­turbine provides overriding benefits to the wider community, ie to all who live, work in or visit the South Hams.

‘They have also confirmed that the private benefit to one farm business is not sufficient justification to approve the application.’

The family that owns Winslade Farm said it needs the turbine to offset its annual £25,000 electricity bill. The farm has a 250-strong dairy herd and 120 beef cattle.

Many local people are in favour, with 31 letters of support against 67 letters objecting received by South Hams Council.

At the DMC meeting in May, local district councillor Julian Brazil said that supporting agriculture was vital

to stop communities ­turning into ‘retirement homes or holiday parks’.

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP leant her support to the Friends, saying: ‘Congratulations to the Friends of South Hams, who were successful in their campaign for a judicial review.

‘In the light of this, and the highly sensitive location of this wind turbine, I have supported their calls for the ­secretary of state to call in this application.’

Source:  Kingsbridge & Salcombe Gazette | 28 November 2014 | www.kingsbridge-today.co.uk

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