Concerns have been raised that the community of Llanaelhaearn will now suffer following a failed bid to overturn a decision to install a wind turbine.
Plans submitted by community group Antur Aelhaearn, to erect the 67m turbine on Moelfre Hill, east of the village of Llanaelhaearn, were rejected by Gwynedd Council planning committee in November 2014.
Antur Aelhaearn submitted an appeal to the planning inspectorate, describing the venture as a community-led development, and accused Gwynedd Council’s planning committee of not considering this aspect when they came to their decision on the application.
However, those residents who were against the plans argued that it was not a community-led development and submitted concerns that it would have an environmental impact on the village.
The planning inspectorate refused Antur Aelhaearn’s appeal on Friday, 27 November.
Dr Carl Iwan Clowes, chair of Antur Aelhaearn said: “There will be those who take great satisfaction from the refusal by the Planning Inspectorate to allow Antur Aelhaearn to develop a community turbine in the village.
“The refusal now means that there is a loss of £2.5m to Llanaelhearn which languers in the poorest quartile in Wales and the 26 jobs which would have been created over the 20 year lifecycle of the turbine now won’t be made.
“The proposed fund that Antur intended to alleviate fuel poverty in the village will no longer be possible and the village nursery will not have the necessary funding.
“The proposals to re-open the new shop will have to abandoned and an annual grant to the community council will have to be forsaken.
“Also the maintenance of the village’s playing field and community hall will suffer.”
Dr Clowes said the cost of the application and the preparation involved took four and a half years and cost £85,000 for the myriad of assessments that were required. Financial support was also given by the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council.
He added: “The time has come for Welsh Government to urgently review the serious mis-match between government’s stated policy of sustainable community development as espoused in the Well Being and Future Generations Act passed earlier this year and the reality as witnessed in the case of refusal for this solitary turbine.
“The question must be asked is the Planning Inspectorate fit for purpose and does Cyngor Gwynedd fully understand the implications of its interpretation of planning law?”
Sian Worden, inspector at the Planning Inspectorate, said, in her appeal ruling: “It is my judgement, however, that considerable as the benefits would be, they do not justify the development of a turbine of such large scale in this sensitive location.
“It would cause significant harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding landscape, much of which is nationally important.
“The proposed turbine would also have a signficantly detrimental effect on the living conditions of the neighbouring occupiers at Planwydd.”
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