HomeNewsWind farm protesters celebrate after Burnham town planners back them

Wind farm protesters celebrate after Burnham town planners back them


Delighted protesters fighting a proposed wind farm on the outskirts of Burnham-On-Sea celebrated with loud cheers on Tuesday evening (pictured) after town planners voted to “strongly object” against the scheme.

Some 20 members of KNOll to Windfarm – the action group set up to oppose the planned construction of five wind turbines near Brent Knoll – celebrated outside the town council chambers after the town Planning Committee unanimously voted to object against the scheme. It came just 24 hours after Brent Knoll Parish Council made a similar decision.

How the wind farm might look [Photomontage: Ecotricity]At Tuesday night’s meeting, KNOll to Windfarm spokesman Andrew Manning told councillors: “It is clear cut that this is the wrong location for a wind farm and it has only been selected in an opportunistic manner by a commercial developer.”

“We all recognise that this is the most significant planning decision that this location has had to make for years. We need to defend the Knoll in the same way it has defened the local population for thousands of years.”

He outlined some of the reasons why the group is fighting the scheme.

“The plans run contrary to previous planning decisons in the area related to the height and visual impact of proposals for various radio masts and buildings. Applicatons have been refused due to being in breach of various local plan policies.”

Mr Manning added: “Ecotricity’s application states that the turbines could be clearly seen up to 10 kilomentres away. At section 8.8.11 of the application, Ecotricity admits that ‘there is potential for impact of major significance’. This directly contravenes Sedgemoor’s district local plan on which the development control committee will be assessing the application.”

He continued: “The council should be aware that Sedgemoor District Council make it quite clear in their Local Plan that developments of this kind, in this location are not acceptable. Policy CNE17 states ‘a development which would adversely affect distinctive features of the local landscape (for example the Somerset Levels and particularly Brent Knoll itself) will not be permitted.”

“Can we allow these five 390 feet high blots on our landscape; junction 22 of the M5 to become quiet without tourists and our town to become Bypass-on-Sea?”

David Baker, Burnham-On-Sea Chamber Of Trade

David Baker, Secretary of Burnham-On-Sea Chamber Of Trade, pictured, spoke out against the plans on behalf of his group at Tuesdy’s meeting.

“As representatives of the local business community, the Chamber Of Trade is vitally concerned in the potential economic impact of any significant development proposed for the area.”

“The visual amenity of Brent Knoll, our dramatic coastline and other attractions all bring tourists, whether holidaymakers or day trippers to the area, and ultimately their spending power. Visitors are vital to the lifeblood of the Brean, Berrow and Burnham environment and they come because of the beautiful countryside, beaches and coast. We cannot have that destroyed with the wind farm eyesore.”

“We are warned that the number of visitors may fall. Every survey we have heard about has shown that a percentage of visitors would not come to an area if a wind farm is built.”

“Can we allow these five 390 feet high blots on our landscape; run the risk of junction 22 to become quiet without tourists; and our town to become Bypass-on-Sea?”

It was also mentioned at the meeting that Sedgemoor Tourism Association has given the anti-wind farm scheme its backing.

Councillors voted unanimously to object “very strongly” the scheme. Planning Committee Chairman Peter Clayton said: “I’m not against wind farms in principle, but this is the worst possible place. Its proximity to local properties is “

Ecotricity’s planning application is currently with Sedgemoor District Council and is scheduled to be discussed by its development control committee on August 8th.

No-one spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting in favour of the wind farm. Local pro-wind farm group FORCE (Families For Clean Energy) was noticeable by its absence.

Contacted by Burnham-On-Sea.com afterwards, FORCE spokeswoman Colette Winfield said: “We knew absolutely nothing about the meeting or we’d have been there.”


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