Plans to site a 77 metre wind turbine in East Williamston have been narrowly refused by county planners.
An application from Community Energy in Pembrokeshire Limited sought permission for the turbine at Prouts Park Farm.
It came back before the County Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, November 10 after being deferred for a site visit last month. Planning officers once again recommended that the turbine be approved subject to conditions.
An objection was received from East Williamston Community Council during the consultation, as well as seven letters of objection and a petition signed by 31 people.
Among the concerns were the effect the turbine would have on the landscape, wildlife and habitats, noise pollution and the stability of mine shafts.
A further 18 representations were received in support of the application.
Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Ben Ferguson Walker said: “This is about Pembrokeshire power for Pembrokeshire people.
“Every penny of profit arising from this scheme will be owned and spent in Pembrokeshire, supporting our householders, businesses and communities. This is not money which is going to a remote developer, its directors are unpaid and there’s no invested interest but the social objectives of our organisation.”
Speaking for the objectors was Mary Sinclair, the chairman of the Pembrokeshire branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales. She said: “At 77 metres this turbine will be difficult to conceal unless there are trees of the same height in East Williamston.
“I am disappointed but not surprised that Natural Resources Wales has not asked for a flight path survey for the protected barn owls in the area.
“I beg the committee to insist on a condition to force the applicants to act on shadow flicker. It is a completely devastating phenomenon in people’s homes.”
Opening the debate, the local member Cllr Jacob Williams said: “This is a monstrous turbine.”
He read out a list of what he called “barrel scraping letters of support” from people as far away as Bristol.
“I don’t know how visible this turbine will be from Bristol,” he said.
“As you can quite clearly see this community turbine isn’t a real community effort. It relies on the support of a network of green energy supporters who won’t be affected by this turbine’s visual dominance.”
Cllr Tony Brinsden said: “The site visit was really a waste of time. The reason I say that is because there was nothing to show how tall this turbine was going to be. There was no point us driving around the countryside because there was nothing for us to see.”
Cllr Peter Stock suggested that a balloon be used as a point of reference.
Cllr Williams put forward a motion to go against the recommendation and refuse the turbine on the grounds of visual intrusion and cumulative impact. Eight members voted in favour of refusal, and seven against. The application was therefore refused.
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