Planning application 43/2567/13/F, submitted to SHDC in November 2013, sought approval for a wind turbine and its associated infrastructure at SX776419, on Winslade Farm, Frogmore. It would supply electricity to the farm. Hub height would be 24.6m, tip height 34.2m.
SHDC’s Development Management Committee gave approval in May 2014 but it was challenged on legal grounds. SHDC accepted that its failure to notify English Heritage of the application (one of the grounds) was a flaw in the decision process, a Consent Order was agreed and the permission was quashed.
SHDC brought the application before its DMC again in December 2014 and a fresh approval was given, despite the officer report recommending refusal because of impact on the landscape in the AONB. The South Devon AONB Unit also objected.
The South Hams Society opposed the application, with the following objection:
The South Hams Society objects to this application on the grounds of visual damage to the South Devon AONB.
The turbine is sited on prominent ground, near to the ridge line, within the AONB and close to Frogmore Creek. Its presence would be clearly visible from Frogmore and Chillington and the A379 road. This turbine is significantly taller than most of the turbines installed nearby quoted in the Design and Access Statement.
The zone of theoretical visibility shown in the map dated 10th September, 2014 reveals how widely the turbine will be seen. The hub will be visible from most of the area within a 3km radius of the site. Even the base will be visible from much of this area as well as large areas surrounding the Kingsbridge/Salcombe estuary. The visual effect of the turbine can not be mitigated by landscaping or planting.
Apparently this site was chosen as a result of reapplication discussions between the applicant and officers in council’s Development Management. Despite this the council’s Landscape Officer in his report regards the visual impact of the turbine to be ‘intrusive, uncharacteristic and ….. out of scale’. His report goes on to say that the turbine would diminish ‘the sense of natural and high scenic quality in …. the designated landscape’ and ‘the resulting impact of these adverse effects would be contrary to planning policy’. The AONB Unit objects to the application for similar reasons.
It is particularly regrettable that the pre-application discussions should not have included the landscape officer’s views and as a result led to this application so very inappropriate to the AONB. The South Hams Society urges the District Council to reject this application.
The application has now been “Called In” by the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government – Greg Clarke MP. An Inquiry has commenced, will be held locally and will be conducted by the Planning Inspectorate. Greg Clarke will make the final decision.
A key consideration of the Inquiry is the level of local support or opposition. This is a new Material Planning Consideration (MPC) issued on 18th June 2015. Representations can be made up to Monday 23rd November and the Society hopes that as many people as possible will object. If a high proportion of the community does not register objections, the Planning Inspectorate will assume the proposed development is supported.
Representations can be from people who haven’t submitted them previously as well as from those who want to add new material. There is no requirement to be living in Frogmore – the turbine would be clearly visible from far outside the parish and to those passing by. The AONB is a national asset, for the benefit of everybody.
Key issues which the inspector must consider include support and opposition from the local community and any impacts on landscape, residents’ enjoyment of local amenities, the setting and appreciation of nearby heritage assets, the local economy and the local ecology. There are certain issues that are not deemed to be planning considerations. These include:
– any comment on objection the logic of or the use of wind power in principle or to the efficiency of wind turbines.
– subsidies the applicant would receive.
– the perceived loss of property value or the loss of a private or specially treasured view.
Representations should be sent in triplicate to:
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 3/26, Hawk Wing,
Temple Quay House,
2 The Square,
Bristol, BS1 6PN
or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
by 11 December. They should quote ‘Called In Planning Application Ref 3136298, Winslade Farm, Frogmore, Kingsbridge, Devon’ and must include the name and postcode of the sender.
More information is available from Friends of South Hams on 01548 531289 or 01548 531878 and further information can be found onwww.friendsofsouthhams.co.uk