Good news at last, regarding The Big Field Wind Farm, Week St Mary, as the Secretary of State today dismisses the appeal. Well done and thank you to all those who campaigned over such a long time against this massive wind farm, which would have been a blight on the landscape for miles around in this corner of North Cornwall bordering Torridge. We’re glad to have done our bit to help.
In February 2014, an application was made to Cornwall Council for the development of a massive 11 turbine wind farm near Week St Mary. In October 2014 the application was refused by Cornwall Council on the grounds of the adverse impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding area and on numerous heritage assets. Wind farm developer Good Energy Generation Ltd appealed the decision and a public inquiry was held by Planning Inspector Mr Paul Griffiths in April and May 2016.
The local campaign group Campaign Against Rural Exploitation (CARE) provided three witnesses against the proposal and many local residents gave statements to the inquiry opposing the wind farm.
On 27th October 2016 the Inspector reported to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, recommending that the appeal be dismissed on the grounds that “the adverse impacts of granting planning permission for the proposal, in terms of the harm that would be caused to the significance of designated heritage assets, the landscape in general, and the scenic beauty of the AONB, would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits”. With regard to the Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) of 18th June 2015, the Inspector stated that “the impacts identified by the affected local communities are not and cannot be made acceptable and that the proposal does not have the backing of the local community”. On 26th July 2017 the Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector’s recommendation and dismissed the appeal.
At CPRE Devon, we believe that this long drawn-out process has been very stressful to the local community and has cost them a great deal of time and money. It has been totally unnecessary as it has been obvious all along that the wind farm would have been a massive blight on the local landscape and would be unacceptable. Hopefully with the removal of the massive subsidies to wind turbines, with the tighter planning rules now in place requiring suitable locations for wind turbines needing to be identified on a Local Plan or a Neighbourhood Plan, and with proposals needing the backing of the local community, we have seen the back of any more wind turbines or wind farms blighting our wonderful countryside.