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Villagers battling turbine developer

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 11, 2013

AGAINST: Angry residents at Week St Mary give the thumbs-down to the proposed wind farm, whose 11 turbines would be 400ft tall.

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OPPONENTS of a scheme to build a huge renewable energy park around a North Cornwall village are waiting to see what the developer includes in its plans.

At a lively meeting on Wednesday Good Energy, which owns the Delabole wind farm, outlined its plans to build 11 turbines, standing 400ft tall, on farmland near Week St Mary.

Plans for a solar farm alongside a similar one which already has permission will be considered separately at a later date.

Good Energy said it would be submitting its plans to Cornwall Council next month.

The combined plans could create the largest energy park in Cornwall, and those in opposition have formed CARE (Cornwall Against Rural Exploitation) to fight them.

"We have to see what goes into the planning application," said CARE's Chris Heard. "Then we'll work out how to combat any development we believe will harm our village."

At the meeting Good Energy representatives outlined the community benefits a wind farm would bring, including lower electricity bills and an outdoor learning centre which it would provide.

However, Mr Heard said the community benefits would not offset the detrimental impact.

"It still means we're going to have eleven 400ft turbines which are going to be an enormous blot on the landscape," he said.

"Holidaymakers are already cancelling their holiday home bookings. There's a campsite, and they're expecting to go out of business. We've been told house prices won't be affected but a lot of people will just not live anywhere near turbines."

A spokeswoman for Good Energy said: "We'll be looking at all the feedback from our public consultation, including the possibility of extending our local tariff to cover gas as well as electricity so we can offer reduced prices on dual fuel to the local community."

Although the meeting was due to start at 12.30pm dozens of people turned up two hours early, and Good Energy opened the doors ahead of schedule.

Chief executive Juliet Davenport said: "We've always felt the development of renewables across the UK could be done better and we're now trying to set a blueprint for what you should be doing.

"All renewable sites should be able to bring significant benefit to the communities they're hosted by. It's going to be tricky because there's going to be opposition but we think there will be support for this site. We now need to define a project that really works for this area."

Good Energy says the turbines will produce enough electricity to power 13,600 homes and is proposing a raft of community benefits including the creation of an inflation-linked social investment fund worth £50,600 a year over the site's anticipated 25-year life.

Opponents cite noise, visual impact and falling house prices among their objections.

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  • didifonstone  |  September 11 2013, 6:49PM

    Good Energy's press release states that they intend to create 'an Outdoor Learning Centre in a building at the heart of the scheme that will be acquired by Good Energy and transformed into a resource for use by schools and groups across Cornwall.' However, there is already an existing centre, at Good Energy's wind farm at Delabole, the Gaia Centre. This building cost £5 million, yet it was closed in 2004, only three years after it was built. Why can't Good Energy use the existing building at Delabole……. and if it is such a good idea, why did it go bust at Delabole? According to a BBC article : The centre went into administrative receivership in March 2004 and was then bought by an investment company Neovenator. Most of the funding for the centre came from Europe, with £300,000 grants from Objective One and the South West Regional Development Agency. The centre was branded a waste of money by Neovenator and some investors are now demanding a public inquiry. Neovenator Chief Executive Ian McIvor said: "We put a lot of work in and and a lot of investment over the last few months to see if the centre could be salvaged as an a exhibition on renewable energy. But, sadly, just like many eco-attractions, they're just not sustainable, there's just not enough interest." http://tinyurl.com/ow2dv2g