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Opposition mounts against plans to build 67-metre wind turbine near Crewkerne

By Western Gazette - Crewkerne  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

OPPOSITION GROUP: Hewish residents fear a proposed wind turbine on a site within the parish will spoil the look of the countryside and generate too much noise to sleep. Despite some support for the application, more than 100 letters of objection have been received by South Somerset District Council

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More than 100 letters of objection have been lodged against plans to build a 67-metre wind turbine near Crewkerne.

Farmer and parish councillor John Wyatt wants to build the turbine at Highlands Dairy Farm, Hewish.

The turbine will comprise a 40-metre tower, with blades adding a further 27 metres at the highest point in their rotation. It will be funded by Coombe Farm, a local dairy supplier.

His plans have attracted much opposition from people who believe the structure would ruin the local countryside, create noise pollution and set a precedent for more turbines in the future.

A protest group has been set up called West Crewkerne Against the Wind Turbine to focus the efforts of communities who object to the plans and has started a petition online.

A spokesman from South Somerset District Council, which will decide the fate of the application, said that no date for a decision has yet been set.

In last week’s Western Gazette, Clapton resident Geoffrey Harfield spoke in support of the application, arguing for the benefits of renewable energy and that wind turbines can add to the aesthetic of the countryside.

But opposition campaigner Matt Doble said: “We can understand how swarms of turbines may look beautiful to Mr Harfield when viewed against a backdrop of the industrialised flats of the Elbe estuary or the already ravaged skyline of the Spanish Costas.

“We, however, are concerned about the incipient desecration of our beautiful Somerset countryside, our main asset, within which the proposed turbine would be both disproportionate in scale and alien in structure.

“We are in agreement with the need to develop alternative sources of power but our vision extends beyond merely jumping on to the currently most profitable bandwagon.

“Better surely to adopt a more considered approach with the aim of selecting the most acceptable forms of renewable energy in fully appropriate locations and thus also preserving for future generations a landscape worth inheriting.”

The West Crewkerne Against the Wind Turbine website has had more than 150 registrations of objection.

At January’s West Crewkerne Parish Council meeting, councillors recommended approval despite protests from more than 40 residents.

Applicant Mr Wyatt also attended the meeting.

He said: “I speak to young people in the village and they are all worried to death about the future and what will happen when the power runs out.

“I have been to visit wind turbines and you barely hear a sound from them from 600 metres.”

Mr Wyatt will receive money from Coombe Farm for the use of his land and will have access to some of the energy generated from the turbine.

Becky Jam, from AH Warren Trust, the owners of Coombe Farm, said: “The turbine complies will all regulations, noise and otherwise.”

Visit www.westcrewkernewindturbine.co.uk.

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  • mattdoble  |  February 24 2013, 6:44PM

    Peter, As you are fully aware I have replied to you on a number of occasions and have said we will arrange a meeting with you, but at the moment we are very busy fighting these plans! Being 24 myself, I can confirm the younger members of the community are also against these plans, and although it may require eyesight slightly more youthful than your own, I can assure you there are at least eight members in the photograph above, below the age of thirty.

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  • Syrrets  |  February 08 2013, 10:11PM

    I hope the protest group is successful. The continuing industrialisation of our little remaining unspoilt landscape must be resisted. Speaking as a lapsed member of the Green Party, I do not regard wind turbines as 'green' - their negative impact on landscape and the danger they pose to birds and bats outweighs any small good they may do in saving carbon emissions. (And the latter is debatable given that turbines produce only small amounts of intermittent energy.) It is scandalous that we are despoiling our countryside with turbines whilst at the same time continuing to allow energy to be squandered with needless lighting and heating, such as lighting empty offices and shops at night and overheating them in the day. Please, tackle waste before ruining the countryside and killing yet more birds and bats.

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  • PeterL  |  February 07 2013, 11:34AM

    Interesting to read this report. I asked Matt Doble if I could meet the Protest organisers a few days ago but as yet nothing has been arranged. I have lodged a letter in support of this application with the District Council and will put it on the Somerset Green Party Website so that my views may be more widely read. It should be available on the SSDC website too but they are having problems with the site at the moment. I hope I can meet the protesters soon, non fossil fuel energy is vital, frankly, to the future of mankind and I do want to make sure that that is fully appreciated. The younger generation has largely grasped this, perhaps the older one hasn't. I think I can only see one teenager in the photograph. This is going to liven up canvassing in Hewish. I might have to pay them a visit next week! Yours sincerely Peter Lansdown Secretary South Somerset Green Party

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