A picturesque Cornish village so loved by the Prime Minister that he named his daughter after it is set to have its rural beauty wrecked by red flashing lights from a large wind turbine, locals say.
David Cameron and wife Samantha christened their fourth child Florence Rose Endellion because they loved holidaying near St Endellion, on the north Cornwall coast.
They are believed to have been enamoured with its simple charm before their daughter was born at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro in August 2010.
Now villagers, who are already unhappy at plans for the 200ft tall wind turbine, learned it will have to be illuminated at night by red flashing lights because of nearby Ministry of Defence (MoD) radar equipment.
Thousands of tourists visit every year to admire the village and St Endellion, a 13th century church where the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is churchwarden.
However, locals claim the rural beauty will be ruined by the towering wind turbine at Treswarrow Park Farm at Trelights, near Port Isaac, where the television programme Doc Martin is filmed.
The MoD has also joined the protests, expressing concern over the impact on radar installations just along the coast at Hartland.
A letter to council planners from Rachel Evans, of the MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation, warns the turbine would cause “unacceptable interference” to the nation’s radar defence system.
She said even if the turbine’s backers can find a technical solution to this problem, “the MoD requests that the turbine is fitted with 25 candela omni-directional red lighting or infra-red lighting with an optimised flash pattern of 60 flashes per minute”.
Ms Evans added: “The principle safeguarding concern of the MoD with respect to the development of wind turbines relates to their potential to create a physical obstruction to air traffic movements.”
The council should have agreed on whether or not to grant approval for the turbine on January 6, but the ongoing row has put back a decision – especially as the site is less than 2,000ft from the edge of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Natural England has been quick to object, saying: “The proposed turbine would be a modern intrusion of an industrial nature detracting from the natural forces that shape the landscape of the area of oustanding natural beauty, diminishing its feelings of antiquity, wildness, tranquillity and remoteness and appearing to be at odds with the scale of the landscape.”
Somerset-based developers Murex Energy Ltd said the proposed turbine is about 50ft lower than one rejected three years ago and is “consistent with guidelines on noise and landscape”.
They are planning the turbine close to a different site, which was granted planning permission for a 40-acre solar farm in October after the government over-ruled council objections.
Dozens of local residents have written to the council, protesting that the huge new wind turbine would ruin the character of St Minver and St Endellion churches, where thousands gather for the annual St Endellion music festival.
Murex’s letter in support of the wind turbine says: “The development will cause no significant harm in respect of any matter of material planning consideration and is supported through national guidance and specific local policies.
“The application provides considerable community benefit over and above the contribution the proposal would make to the generation of renewable and low carbon energy, a material consideration that should be given considerable weight.”
But apart from one letter of support from a neighbouring landowner, the overwhelming majority of public comments submitted so far are hostile to the idea.
One villager, John Phelps, said: “This application will have a huge negative impact in an area of unspoilt coast and countryside that uses its natural beauty to attract visitors to an area that relies on tourism to provide employment.
“I imagine that David Cameron named his daughter Endellion after a place that he and his wife thought was beautiful.
“I’m sure he won’t name his next child Treswarrow after a noisy ugly wind turbine.”
Local couple Phillip and Daphne Gough said: “We are objecting to this planning application at Treswarrow because it is for an industrial size turbine in completely the wrong place.
“The site is not only surrounded by outstanding countryside and listed building and churches but in a key area for North Cornwall tourism.”
Plans for an even larger turbine at nearby Chapel Amble – which were refused by Cornwall Council two years ago, then allowed on appeal, and then quashed by a High Court judge – are to be the subject of a re-run public inquiry this year.
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