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Plans for ’20-storey-high’ mansion turbine backed

12 May 2024 3 minute read
Wind turbine

Bruce Sinclair, local democracy reporter

A £1m scheme for a ’20-storey-high’ wind turbine to keep a listed mansion viable has been backed at a meeting of full council despite members hearing 90 per cent of the power generated would be sent to the national grid.

Mr and Mrs Glen Peters of Western Solar Ltd sought permission for a single turbine on land near the Grade II-listed Rhosygilwen Mansion in Pembrokeshire, which includes an arts and functions building known as Neuaddydderwen.

Mr Peters has previously said the application for a turbine would ensure the long-term viability of Rhosygilwen, acquired some 30 years previously as a fire-damaged house that was about to be pulled down.

Increases

He has said that, despite 200-year-old Rhosygilwen using power from its solar farm, the first of its kind in Wales, it has been hit with “huge increases in importing energy from the grid” during the winter months.

Planners have repeatedly been recommended to refuse the scheme by officers, but backed it at both their March and April committee meetings.

The March backing meant the application returned to the April meeting for ratification after a ‘cooling off’ period; the application having been deferred at the January meeting pending a site visit.

Threats

It was initially recommended for refusal in January for several reasons, including potential harm to the setting of the Grade-II-listed house and grounds, and fears of threats to the safe operation of West Wales Airport at Aberporth in neighbouring Ceredigion, some 9.5 kilometres away.

The last concern was later withdrawn.

Officers have said the scheme “would not protect or enhance the setting [of Rhosygilwen] but rather would result in significant harm to this interest of acknowledged importance”.

They have also warned any backing of the scheme against policy recommendations could set a precedent for similar developments.

As the scheme was from the development plan, the final decision had to be made by full council, meeting on May 9, where it was recommended the committee support for the scheme was not endorsed.

The scheme had been twice backed by the planning committee partly on the grounds of its contribution of green power to help tackle the ongoing climate emergency.

Speaking at the May 9 full council meeting, Councillor Tessa Hodgson questioned how much power from the proposal would be fed back into the grid and how much would go to power Rhosygilwen.

She was told that 90 per cent from the “medium scale turbine” would be fed back into the grid, generating a tariff for the applicant, 10 per cent powering the mansion and associated buildings.

Councillor Mike Stoddart described the amount of power produced by turbines as “miniscule,” saying it would require some 2,000 to equal the power output of Pembroke power station.

“It’s not going to make any material difference to the amount of carbon dioxide we output,” he told fellow councillors.

A move to approve the scheme, made by planning committee chairman Cllr Jacob Williams, was supported by 37 votes to 18, with two abstentions.

Objector Paul Robertson-Marriott has previously said the “20-storey” turbine would have “a detrimental impact” on surrounding properties and the proposal would “ride roughshod over the status of the listed building for economic benefit”.


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Richard Davies
Richard Davies
11 days ago

The beauty of the natural environment of Cymru is being raped by the number of these proposals being granted permission, under the guise of addressing climate change, with no actual benefit to Cymru!

The only suitable location for wind turbines is out at sea!

We should have done the same as lloegr, imposing a moratorium on land based wind turbines!

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