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Western Morning News Feb 1 2006

NINE-TURBINE WINDFARM REJECTED BY PLANNERS

Date : 01 Feb 2006

The battle over a proposed nine-turbine windfarm to the north of Dartmoor could go to appeal after it was rejected by planners yesterday. West Devon Borough Council's planning and licensing committee supported the recommendation from their officers to reject the scheme for the turbines, in the Den Brook valley between North Tawton and Bow.

Each turbine would have been 394ft high to the tip of the blade. Their size meant that they would have been double the height of St Paul's Cathedral in London and three times the height of Exeter Cathedral.

Committee chairman Coun Roger Mathew said the sheer scale of the turbines was what swayed him against the plan from energy firm Renewable Energy Systems (RES).

Coun Mathew said that personally he was sad that a suitable site for a windfarm in West Devon had yet to be found. He said that the matter had to be decided on policy grounds and the issue that counted against the turbines was their size.

"The question is whether the scale of this proposal is so great as to justify refusal," said Coun Mathew. "If you stand in a field in the Den Brook valley you could almost be in the 14th century. The movement of the turbine blades would be a discordant note."

The council's planning officers recommended refusal because the development would have a "severely adverse" visual impact on the landscape. They said the proposal was detrimental because of "excessive visual dominance and intrusion".

Following the 7-3 vote against the plan, campaigners said the decision came as a great relief.

Maureen Thomson, chairman of the Den Brook Valley Action Group, said: "We were very pleased with the debate. If they do go to appeal we shall be ready to fight them."