Decision on Heol Ddu turbine postponed

South Wales Guardian: Decision on Heol Ddu turbine postponed Decision on Heol Ddu turbine postponed

COUNTY planners have postponed a decision on controversial plans for a wind turbine at Heol Ddu near Ammanford – which would be sited within 500 metres of 12 homes – after councillors were told not all consultations from relevant bodies had been received.

Apologising for the 11th-hour deferral, planning officer Graham Noakes told members of Carmarthenshire county council's planning committee that he had belatedly realised "a certain body" had not been consulted.

"I wish, therefore, that this matter be deferred and I will report back to the committee in January," he added.

Planning officers – who have recommended approval – describe plans for the 20kw turbine with a tip height of 27.1m at land at Pantybryn as a "finely balanced" application with strong arguments for and against. The applicant is Mr Tim Pullen, of Pantybryn.

While Brecon Beacons National Park officers say that the proposal would not impact on the landscape, Llandybie community councillors believe the turbine would be too near to houses, residents would suffer from noise and the turbine would be visible from surrounding areas of the Amman Valley.

Twenty-one separate letters of objection have raised fears including the "industrialisation" of the landscape, shadowflicker and a visual hazard to drivers near the dangerous crossroads at the Heol Ddu/Mountain Road junction.

One objector claims noise from the turbine would affect an objector's epileptic daughter, whose seizures are triggered by disturbed sleep and lack of sleep.

Concerns have also been expressed about the turbine's proximity to the nearby highway and the possibility of one turbine leading to others while one resident claimed: "the fact the application was submitted when many residents would be on holiday was a cynical abuse of the planning system".

Officers acknowledged that the proximity of the nearest houses was "critical" to the consideration of the application.

"After careful consideration of the scheme the proposal is clearly one that has evoked local discussion and one which has polarised opinion," states their report. "The specific planning issues and the material balance of the concerns presented against the professional views submitted need to be carefully weighed.

"Despite the weight of public objection, all the statutory consultees have not objected to the proposal based on their specific fields of expertise.

"As such, the local planning authority is satisfied that the specific issues of noise, safety, shadow flicker, ecology, landscape impact , the legal procedure of the application itself and the minor points of objection raised have all been adequately dealt with and do not warrant refusal of the application as they can be sufficiently mitigated through the use of planning conditions.

"This is a finely balanced application with strong arguments to be made for and against. Taking into account the many issues in this case, the proposal is considered to be compliant with planning policy and is recommended for approval."

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