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Fight against wind farm not over yet

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: May 02, 2013

By Philippa Jenkins

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THE developers behind an application for a wind farm with turbines taller than St Paul's Cathedral have withdrawn the initial proposal and submitted a further application reducing the turbines' height by 19 metres.

The initial application for the five 126-metre turbines at Harbourcross Land at Meddon was withdrawn from Torridge District Council's planning system by developers Wind Ventures Ltd on Thursday.

On Tuesday the developers confirmed they had submitted the revised application with the turbines reaching 107 metres instead.

The initial application was submitted last year and in the past few months has met fierce objection.

An opposition group called Stop It was set up to stop the initial proposal going ahead.

It was also the first turbine application which Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, objected to. In September last year Mr Cox said: "There are no fewer than 60 applications currently in the planning system at Torridge.

"Enough is enough. We have to wake up and have a wider debate about the effect these turbines will have on our communities. These turbines at Meddon will be taller than St Paul's Cathedral."

He confirmed he would be objecting to the new proposal as well. He said on Tuesday: "I'm pleased the developers are thinking again about the size of the development but it would be better it they withdrew it completely.

"The reduction in height is not going to offset the objections."

Objectors realise the battle is not over with the revised application being submitted on Tuesday.

Adrian Butler, a project manager from Wind Ventures, confirmed what the new application would consist of.

He said: "Basically from reading and listening to the comments made from members of the public and consultees we have decided the turbines were too high.

"We still think it is a very good site for a wind farm. The new application for a wind farm still consists of five turbines but they will all be 107 metres in height.

"We have carried out a new environmental impact assessment and believe this is an acceptable scheme."

David Westcott, who helped set up campaign group Stop It, said the fight is not over.

He added: "We are very pleased we have got to this stage but the fight is not over yet. So far we just feel we have done everything right."

The group has so far spent thousands of pounds on getting reports produced on the site, and has produced leaflets and flyers highlighting the application.

"It just makes me think they were told they didn't have a chance with them at that height. It is just not a site for turbines," he added.

Penny Mills, the chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England's Torridge group, said: "While it's good news the initial application has been withdrawn for these commercial turbines, 107m is still massive – over 350ft – the tallest structures anywhere to be seen around here in the countryside so the impact is not significantly reduced.

"North West Devon continues to be bombarded with proposals for large wind and solar schemes. Our beautiful rural landscape will change beyond all recognition if all these are approved."

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