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Joy as villagers win fight to stop turbine destroying landscape

Villagers living on the outskirts of Frome have won a 16-month campaign to stop a 77m high wind turbine being built near their homes.

Several families living at Chantry, Whatley, Mells, Leigh on Mendip, and Doulting said they are overjoyed by news that an appeal by developers to site the wind turbine on the border of two villages has been rejected.

Last May, Mendip District Council threw out an application by G2 for a single turbine at Rookhouse Farm, Chantry, despite recommendations for approval by planning officers.

At the time Mendip councillors decided the impact on listed buildings, including Leigh on Mendip Church, known as the Jewel of Mendip; its closeness to Asham Woods – the largest and most diverse of semi-natural woods in the Mendips – the impact on protected species such as the peregrine falcon and the effect it would have on tourism, were reasons why the application should be rejected.

The refusal was appealed and after a five-hour visit to the site, when an inspector scaled Cranmore Tower, pictured, it was concluded that “the adverse effects that would occur in terms of landscape and visual impact, including the harm to the setting of a listed building are significant and demonstrable and outweigh the positive aspects” of any renewable energy benefits.

A spokesman for the objectors said the 77m wind turbine would have sucked hundreds of thousands of pounds a year of subsidised profits back to the developers in the Home Counties at the expense of the Mendip landscape.

He added: “The overwhelming refusal by the democratically elected members of Mendip’s Planning Board has been respected – that is proper localism.

“Its approval would have represented a further degradation of this part of East Mendip after the erection of the wind turbines at Wanstrow and Leighton.

“We live with quarries, their visual impact is minimal and localised. This would have been a scar on the horizon for miles around.

“It confirms that the Planning Inspectorate accept that renewables do not trump normal environmental considerations.”