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Appeal over refusal of turbine neighbouring Iron Age hillfort

By Shepton Mallet Journal  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

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A towering wind turbine that would be higher than Nelson's Column could still be constructed next to a scheduled monument.

In July Mendip District Council rejected the application by Mr Brian Ingham to build the single wind turbine at Warren Farm, Old Frome Road, Masbury, a stone's throw from the Iron Age hillfort Maesbury Castle, near Shepton Mallet.

The three-bladed 54-metre high construction – which is two metres higher than the famous Trafalgar Square landmark and more than four times higher than the famous Willow Man structure off the M5 motorway – would generate enough electricity to power a small village.

The environmental benefits – saving an annual 3,654 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions going into the atmosphere – helped Shepton Mallet Town Council and Ashwick Parish Council to back the scheme, along with a dozen supporters.

However English Heritage believed the wind turbine could adversely the visual impact of Maesbury Castle and recommended it was thrown out, as did Croscombe Parish Council, St Cuthbert Out Parish Council and Bristol Water.

Phil Hodcraft, speaking on behalf of the applicant Brian Ingham, pointed out that while Maesbury Castle is a scheduled monument there are no information board or viewing platforms and is, in effect, open farmland.

Mendip district councillors unanimously agreed with the campaigners against the turbine, including local residents' group Action Against Turbines on the Mendips and refused the application.

Now Mr Ingham has lodged an appeal against Mendip's decision with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The secretary of state has decided the appeal will be heard on the basis of an exchange of written statements by interested parties.

A planning inspector will also visit the site to see if the wind turbine and associated infrastructure – including a new 31m access track, a crane pad and a housing cabinet – would be suitable, before making a decision.

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