Turbine for village despite fears

Artist impression of Smart Systems new wind turbine

Artist impression of Smart Systems new wind turbine - Credit: Smart Systems

A WIND turbine can be built in a North Somerset village after years of wrangling ended this week.

Smart Systems has fought North Somerset Council and many villagers in Yatton over its plan to build a wind turbine at its base in Arnolds Way.

Despite an appeal agreeing with concerns that the 79-metre turbine would be ‘widely visible’ and have a ‘significant’ impact on the landscape, an independent planning inspectorate backed the company’s plans.

Simon Reakes, who lives about a mile from the site, said he was disappointed by the decision and does not share the inspectorate’s view that homes will be far enough away from the turbine for there to be no ‘significant impact’ on homeowners.

Yatton Parish Council has previously said it was ‘very concerned’ over the potential effect of the turbine and villager Charlotte Deighton said the plan was ‘inappropriate’ and will be a ‘serious and detrimental blight on the landscape and local wildlife’.

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The council rejected plans for a wind turbine in 2011 because of concerns that more harm would be caused to the living conditions of nearby residents and the village’s landscape, than benefit to the company.

Smart looked again at the proposal and resubmitted plans for a 79m-high turbine - fully 12m higher than the previous one - on a different part of its site.

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It was rejected in December 2012 for the same reason plus concerns over the impact on local wildlife, including bats.

However an appeal heard by the planning inspectorate at the end of last year has sided with the firm.

In his report, published this week, inspector Paul Griffiths said the renewable energy generated would have a ‘general benefit’ and support an ‘important local employer’.

It said although the turbine would have a ‘harmful’ impact on the village’s beauty, the turbine is close enough to the factory for it to be just an extension to the site, rather than a stand-alone turbine.

Forthcoming pylons as part of the Hinkley Point C Connection Project would have a similar effect in the coming years anyway, the inspector concluded.

Mr Griffiths’ report said: “Viewed overall, the wind turbine proposed, while prominent, would not appear altogether incongruous… Considered overall, the harm that the proposal would cause to the landscape would be very limited.”

A second planning appeal involving Smart will start on Tuesday at The Campus in Locking Castle.

It wants to build a new industrial building, with an associated hard-standing service yard and parking, and a second wind turbine.

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