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Controversial Chulmleigh wind turbine application approved

A controversial application to build a wind turbine at a farm near Chulmleigh has been approved.

The application for a 40-metre turbine at Chittlehampton Farm in Wembworthy went before a planning committee in Bideford on April 2.

Winkleigh Parish Council said too many applications for turbines have been approved within a few miles of the site but the application was approved when put to a vote.

The council said the region was in danger of turning into a “wind turbine landscape”.

In its comment on the application, it listed a number of wind turbine applications in the area at various stages.

“This is an unacceptably high proliferation of turbines in the landscape, inconsistent with the character of the area,” the council concluded.

“The intrusion on the skyline from this proposed development, both from the east and from the west across the Mole Valley and Chulmleigh, will cause unacceptable visual impact contrary to Torridge District Council policy.”

At the vote, four councillors voted for approval, four voted against and one abstained.

The chairman was given the deciding vote and chose approval.

Mervyn Langmead visited the site before voting for approval. “I stood in the position of the turbines and turned 360 degrees, and I didn’t see another turbine,” he said. “We have to look at what’s in front of us and I don’t these particular turbines will adversely affect their surroundings.”

Councillor David Lausen voted against the application on the grounds of accumulative impact. “This will significantly change the landscape,” he said.

“Soon, you’ll be driving past row after row of turbines. We have a lovely, unique landscape and we should preserve it.”

Mr Lausen said wind turbines often polarised councillors, with some invariably voting for them and some always against.

“Recently, I have been voting against more of them on the grounds of accumulative impact,” he said.

“Torridge has been identified by the Government as a good place to build turbines, but they’re being built too close together.”

Mr Lausen said there had been a surge of turbine applications which was now tailing off, with “a lot less in the pipeline”.

Another turbine application to build two turbines at Gorvin Farm in Bideford has been refused by Torridge Council.

The council gave insufficient evidence that the turbines would not endanger protected birds such as Hen Harriers as its reason for refusal.