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Residents protest plans for 40-metre Crewkerne wind turbine

By abbiewhouse  |  Posted: January 10, 2013

  • A planning design shows what the turbine is likely to look like once erected

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Residents of a quiet village near Crewkerne are protesting the erection of a large wind turbine on a nearby farm.

The proposed 40-metre turbine is funded by Coombe Farm, a local dairy supplier, who have sought planning permission for the turbine to be built on a private farm in Hewish, Crewkerne.

At a West Crewkerne Parish Council meeting on Tuesday 8 January, councillors agreed to back the planning application, despite protests from over 40 residents.

Matt Doble, a resident of Hewish living within 600 metres of the proposed turbine, said: "The local community are outraged about this – I wasn't even contacted about this which I believe is policy.

"The beautiful landscape that we enjoy will be ruined by this construction, they also cause a constant droning noise which will ruin the tranquillity of the area."

Mr Doble added: "I am also concerned that Coombe Farm will build many more turbines in the local area in the future on the same site."
Another resident close to the turbine site said: "I have signed up to receive all planning applications from the council, and so far I have received everything except this one. No-one I know in the village was informed about it.

"At the Parish Council meeting no-one even voted, they said they had already agreed that to support the construction of this monstrosity, despite so many village members protesting.

She added: "If this is built I am certain that I will have to say goodbye to ever getting a peaceful night's sleep again."
The 40 meter structure is to be built on a hill overlooking Crewkerne on Highlands Dairy Farm, Hewish, owned by farmer and West Crewkerne Councillor John Wyatt.

Mr Wyatt 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.

"All those who objected are quite old and don't have to worry about these sorts of things but my 18 year old daughter in particular is worried and knows we need sustainable energy sources like this one.

"I have been to visit wind turbines and you barely hear a sound from them from 600 meters, just a soft buzz if anything. Very unobtrusive.

He added: "At Tuesday's council meeting, some of my neighbours were very rude – we'll just see how they cope when the power goes out and the Russians come and take over."

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, Business Development and Communications Manager for the AH WarrenTrust, owners of Coombe Farm, attended the council meeting and said that some of the residents acted 'disgracefully'.

"The behaviour of some residents was very aggressive particularly towards members of the council including Mr Wyatt, and worthy of an apology.

"We have worked in partnership with professional advisers to ensure the best spot for a turbine and this was it," she said, "in addition, we have taken into consideration all factors including disruption to the community which is why during construction, access will be across Coombe Farm land avoiding the village of Hewish.

She added: "The wind turbine complies will all regulations, noise and otherwise, so although we do understand this is a sensitive issue to residents, the council had no reason to object to our planning application."

When asked if the erection of one turbine could lead to more on the same site, Becky said: "Although we have no current plans to do this, we are always looking for alternative energy opportunities, so never say never."

A full committee hearing will take place later this month where the turbine's fate will be decided, on January 28, by South Somerset District Council.

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