Council planners have narrowly rejected proposals for five giant wind turbines at Scotland Corner, between Wadebridge and St Columb.
Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee voted 10-9 to refuse permission, contrary to the recommendation of its own planning officials, for the turbines just north of the Winnard’s Perch roundabout on the A39.
Berkshire-based Coriolis A39 Wind Farm Ltd had wanted to build five 110m 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 outweigh the benefits of renewable energy. “The physical scale and siting of the proposal exceeds the capacity of the landscape,” he said, and 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 but advising that the long-term benefits of renewable energy outweighed this consideration.
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 proposal provided the developers acted to enhance and protect the ancient monuments, officially classed as “at risk” The best known is the Nine Maidens alignment, visible from the A39.
English Heritage had suggested the development could include a car park and signs to encourage and promote appreciation of the prehistoric remains.
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 said the addition of five more large turbines would 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.
“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 said 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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