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Village that defied Saxon invasion goes to war against wind turbine

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 10, 2013

Jean Sanders-Crook with Andrew and Susan Tanner at Maesbury, where they fear a turbine may be built near their homes

Jean Sanders-Crook with Andrew and Susan Tanner at Maesbury, where they fear a turbine may be built near their homes

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They kept back Saxon invaders 1,500 years ago and now the 21st century inhabitants of a tiny hamlet are braced to repel a wind turbine.

Residents of Maesbury in the Mendip parish of Croscombe have reacted with dismay to the proposal for a small quarry off the Old Frome Road once grazed by a solitary cow.

The single turbine, more than 300 feet high, would dominate the landscape and limestone ridge line for 20 miles around. Plans include an electrical sub-station and associated infrastructure, and wider access onto the narrow Old Frome Road, itself too narrow in places for two vehicles.

The structure would be less than 500 metres away from houses whose occupants fear they who would be affected by flicker, and intense, low-frequency sound.

A spokesman for Action Against Turbines on Mendip, (Aatom) said: “This turbine would be a disaster in so many ways, not just for people but for bats and other wild life.”

“But perhaps most outrageous is the effect such an out-of-place development would have on Maesbury Castle. This internationally important Scheduled Ancient Monument and Iron Age hilltop fort is Mendip’s most famous asset. Any structure over 300 feet high will dominate the fort for miles around and will drastically affect the setting of this special landscape feature.

“Of historical interest, the area round the fort acted as a boundary between the Romano British Celts and the West Saxons in the year 577 to 652AD. The views from the top stretch to Glastonbury right across the Somerset Levels.”

Resident Jean Sanders-Crook said yesterday: “It would be visible across a huge area, and research has shown that these turbines don’t pay without Government subsidies. We would be able to see this from all the windows at the front of our house. We are in our 70s and were going to move to somewhere more suitable but we would find it very difficult now. We hope that Mendip District Council will see sense and reject it.”

The chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England in Somerset, professor Chris Lewis said: “CPRE Somerset will be opposing this application as we have opposed previous applications for wind turbines in the Mendip area. Although we support renewable forms of energy in general, the site proposed in this application is most inappropriate.”

“The site is within a short distance of the boundary of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is a groundswell of local opinion to create an extended AONB for the entire Mendip Hills.”

Chairman of the Mendip Society, Graham Price, said “These turbines severely damage the visual amenity of any area and this is a designated National Character Area extending from the edge of Weston-super-Mare in the west to the boundary of Frome in the east.”

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