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View from Dylan Thomas’s waterside home under threat from turbine  

Credit:  Stunning view from Dylan Thomas's waterside home under threat from 147ft turbine after official grant permission for it to be built | By Luke Salkeld for the Daily Mail | 26 December 2014 | www.dailymail.co.uk ~~

The stunning view from his waterside home inspired some of Dylan Thomas’s greatest works.

But the Welsh poet’s beloved landscape is under threat after officials granted permission for a 147ft wind turbine to be built right in the middle of it.

His family are embroiled in a fight to stop the development, following celebrations to mark 100 years since Thomas’s birth.

They say the turbine would ruin the picturesque countryside if it is built at Mwche farm in Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire – a short distance from the poet’s Boathouse in Laugharne, on the other side of the Taf estuary.

The view across the water inspired works such as Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

The house is now a tea room and art gallery attracting thousands of visitors every year, and opponents say the turbine will destroy the setting.

There are fears the development could even drive away tourists who visit the area that inspired Thomas, who was born 100 years ago.

Planning officers recommended refusing permission for the turbine over fears it would ruin the view from the Boathouse, but Carmarthenshire Council approved it.

The author wrote poems including Over Sir John’s Hill and some of Under Milk Wood at the boat house.

Much of his work is said to be inspired by the wildlife and nature which surrounds the property.

Dylan’s Boathouse boasts wonderful views of the estuary, with egrets, lapwings, herons, oystercatchers, seals and otters all living in the area.

Fans of the hell-raising poet, whose centenary is being celebrated this year, have been fighting a planner decision to give the 147ft-high turbine the go ahead.

The poet’s granddaughter Hannah Ellis, 36, said it was ‘completely absurd’ to grant planning permission for the wind turbine in Laugharne, West Wales.

She said: ‘To imagine a wind turbine there is very upsetting.

‘From a personal point of view I scattered mum’s ashes at the Boathouse. We put a bench there, we sit there and it’s my peaceful time.’

Planning officers recommended refusing permission for the turbine over fears it would blight the view from the house.

The National Trust said it would be a mistake to blight the view.

Laugharne residents challenged the council’s decision on a number of grounds, including that the planning committee acted ‘irrationally’ in departing from their officer’s advice on landscape and cultural heritage harm.

The committee had been advised that the turbine would be a ‘discordant element and an alien intrusion within an historic landscape of exceptional sensitivity’.

A High Court judge in Cardiff has now given permission for a judicial review of Carmarthenshire Council’s planning decision.

His Honour Judge Milwyn Jarman QC said the claim for a judicial review was ‘arguable’ and that it would get a full hearing in the New Year.

Annabel Graham Paul, representing the campaigners, said: ‘This is a great step forward for the claim as it means that the council’s decision-making process will be given full scrutiny by the High Court at an oral hearing.

‘The residents behind the legal action are to be congratulated on getting things off the ground and seeking to take the council to task over this highly controversial decision.’

Shadow Welsh Heritage, Culture and Tourism Minister Suzy Davies was among almost 500 people to lodge objections to the plans within sight of Laugharne Castle and the celebrated boathouse where Dylan wrote much of his work.

She described the decision to grant planning permission as ‘daft’ and said allowing the turbine at such a celebrated site would ‘stoke resentment against renewable energy’.

It was one of the issues identified by council officers in a report to the planning committee, which said: ‘Tourism within the county is a key economic driver, therefore the impact on tourism is said to be significant.’

It added that due to the centenary celebrations, Laugharne is the focus of ‘intensive promotion and publicity’.

Carmarthenshire Council said they are considering appealing the decision to grant a judicial review.

Laugharne residents challenged the council’s decision on a number of grounds, including that the planning committee acted ‘irrationally’ in departing from their officer’s advice on landscape and cultural heritage harm.

The committee had been advised that the turbine would be a ‘discordant element and an alien intrusion within an historic landscape of exceptional sensitivity’.

Shadow Welsh Heritage, Culture and Tourism Minister Suzy Davies was among almost 500 people to lodge objections to the plans.

She described the decision to grant planning permission as ‘daft’.

Huw Davie, of the Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain, said erecting the wind turbine would ‘desecrate’ a celebrated view.

The judicial review into the wind turbine plan will be heard in Cardiff on 21st of January.

Source:  Stunning view from Dylan Thomas's waterside home under threat from 147ft turbine after official grant permission for it to be built | By Luke Salkeld for the Daily Mail | 26 December 2014 | www.dailymail.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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