Cornwall’s planners have narrowly rejected proposals for five giant wind turbines at Scotland Corner, just north of the Winnard’s Perch roundabout on the A39, between Wadebridge and St Columb.
Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee voted 10-9 to refuse permission, contrary to the recommendation of their own planning officials.
Berkshire-based Coriolis A39 Wind Farm Ltd had wanted to build five 110-metre tall turbines on a 50-acre site at Rosenannon Downs, close to a number of megalith stones.
Councillor Andrew Long proposed the motion to refuse permission, saying the cumulative impact on the landscape would be so adverse that it would outweigh the benefits of renewable energy. “The physical scale and siting of the proposal exceeds the capacity of the landscape,” he said, adding that the turbines would be visible for many miles.
A majority of other councillors agreed, saying that the decision was balanced and reasonable, and that they were entitled to express a subjective judgement. Planning officers had recommended approval, acknowledging the visual impact on the landscape but advising that the long-term benefits of renewable energy outweighed these considerations.
The wind farm would also have hosted weather monitoring and telecommunications towers. If approved, the turbines would have to have been fitted with red flashing lights to warn aircraft approaching Newquay Airport.
English Heritage had supported the proposed wind farm provided the developers took steps to enhance and protect the ancient monuments, which for centuries have been neglected and are officially classed as “at risk.” The best known of these is the Nine Maidens alignment, visible from the main A39 road. English Heritage had suggested that the wind farm development could include a car park and signage, to encourage and promote a better appreciation of the prehistoric site.
The site is also close to the St Breock and Bears Downs wind farms, and planning consents already exist for others in the area. The council’s landscape architect feared the addition of five more large turbines will have an adverse visual impact. “The extent of wind energy development in Cornwall is now reaching a point at which the county itself could be described as subject to detrimental cumulative impact,” he said.
“One of the few turbine-free, long-distance views in this area will be lost to the group of large-scale turbines which would be in relatively close proximity to many viewers.”
Other objectors agreed, including Withiel Parish Council, which feared the turbines would have been visible from the village church, “essentially industrialising the rural landscape”. Wadebridge Town Council, and St Columb Town Council, had also lodged objections.
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