Residents raise concerns over wind farm policies
The man who discovered Muse is spearheading a campaign to curb wind turbines planned for his Devon village.
Dennis Smith, who spotted the rock band playing in a Cornish village in 1995, is worried about two wind turbine projects proposed in the area of Harberton, near Totnes, which he says are "polarising" the peaceful community.
Two 100-metre wind turbines are planned at Luscombe Cross, while a 46-metre turbine could be built at Foales Leigh Farm. Both would be situated near an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Residents who live near the proposed sites have criticised South Hams District Council for handling the wind turbine applications without a "cohesive policy on renewable energy".
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Opponents of the Foales Leigh Farm application say the turbine would tower over the landscape and would generate high levels of noise and shadow.
The proposal by Glasgow based TGC Renewables on behalf of farmer Ted Chudley has generated 79 objections and two supporters, including the National Farmers' Union.
Mr Smith claimed landowners were being persuaded to lease land in return for large payments from "profit-seeking" companies.
He has called for nationwide limits on how close wind turbines can be built from residential property to stop wind farms being constructed just metres from homes.
Mr Smith fears the country could become like a "pin cushion" unless a policy is introduced to protect the land.
Resident Sally Lougher, who lives less than 250 metres from the Foales Leigh Farm site, said the proposal was about "profit rather than policy" while Luscombe Cross opponent Julian Holland, said the South Hams community was "vulnerable" without a comprehensive council policy.
Lib Dem councillor Julian Brazil said: "A strategic plan is needed to protect the landscape."
Conservative councillor John Squire said: "There is pressure mounting on the council to have a specific policy, but it is unclear over when that will materialise."
A council spokesman said: "The council determines applications for renewable energy generation with reference to the National Planning Policy Framework, the policies of the South Hams Local Development Framework, and other site specific issues. Work is currently under way to review policies in response to changes in the planning system and to provide further guidance to prospective developers."
The Foales Leigh Farm application will be determined by a development management committee meeting on November 7, following a site inspection. The Luscombe Cross application remains in the consultation stage.