ELVEN (East Looe Valley Energy Network)
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Here are some details of planning applications for wind turbines and solar arrays in the East Looe Valley. For full formal details of these applications, and many others throughout Cornwall, see Week St Mary Solar Farm. While reading these details, please bear in mind that Cornwall Council’s own draft guidelines for renewable energy generation in the Looe Valley [Technical Paper E4 (b)] state (p. 167) that there should only be occasional very small or small scale solar PV developments north of Looe Mills [i.e. where the A38 between Dobwalls and Liskeard crosses the East Looe Valley] … and a landscape without solar PV development south of Looe Mills. For turbines, the same document states (p. 164) that, in the same part of the Looe Valley, only ‘very small’ turbines (i.e. 16-25 m in height) should be approved, and only then in association with existing buildings. Therefore most of these applications, including those which have already been approved, violate the Council’s own rules in one way or another.
Andrews Land, Liskeard – Screening – EIA Not Required
A 2 MW, 7.28 ha solar farm right up against the rear boundary of Liskeard Primary School.
Planning Application Comments for Andrews Land, Liskeard- Chris Daley- 25th Oct 2012
Fursdon Farm, Horningtops, Liskeard – Screening – EIA Not Required
A 5 MW 6.5 ha solar array at Horningtops right next to the main B3252 Looe to Liskeard road. Described in application as ‘on the edge of’ an AGLV’ (i.e. in one). No land classification given, but land recently used over several years for arable, so probably at least Grade 3a. Planning Officer’s Report states that the ‘scale and rigid, linear, artificial form of such development, within an otherwise rural, organic setting, has the potential to be an a intrusive element within the landscape’.
No problems with glint or glare for drivers on the B2352 then??
NB: application also mentions another site at Middle Wringworthy, Morval, but not many details given.
Fursdon Farm, Horningtops, Liskeard – 67 m Wind turbine – Refused. Appeal in progress
Application for a 67 m wind turbine close to the main B2352 Liskeard to Looe Road, which according to the Screening Opinion, ‘could be considered a small- to medium- turbine’. Is also one of a series of applications for tall turbines along the eastern boundary ridge of the East Looe Valley (e.g. Trethawle). Screening Opinion concludes that ‘significant cumulative impact is not considered to be at all likely’, and that there would be no ‘transfrontier’ impact from the South East Cornwall Plateau LCA to the Looe Valley LCA (see below, Appeal). However, Technical Paper E4 (b) Annex states (section C22, p. 4; C23, p. 3) that in both these LCAs, ‘small’ turbinse are those 25-60 m in height, and ‘medium’ 61-99 m, so the Fursdon turbine is not ‘small to medium’ (sic), but ‘medium’.
Road Construction Management Plan mentions junction of B2352 with A38 east of Liskeard, and also access gateway to site on B2352 just south of Horningtops, but does not say that this gateway is just over a blind summit to the north, or that the turning into Trewidland on that same summit is also very dangerous blind junction.
Map provided by developers does not mention the equally dangerous cross roads just south of Fursdon at Bylane End where B2351 from Great Threthew meets the B3252. This road is used by many vehicles as a short cut from the A38 to the B2353, and its junction with the B2353 is particularly dangerous from that direction, and also for drivers travelling north from Looe to Liskeard along the B2352, as it lies just round a curve, and is come upon very quickly. If approved, the turbine will almost certainly distract drivers travelling north, both as to their own progress along the B2352, and to traffic turning into that road from the B2351.
Shadow flicker analysis mentions four local buildings, but omits to include seven other dwellings at Horningtops almost as close to the 540 m ‘limit’. Report also states that flicker effects do not affect traffic, but this is not the same as the potentially distracting effects of turning blades on drivers travelling north along the B2352 (see above).
Refused: on grounds that it would lie within an AGLV, therefore contravening several sections of the Cornwall Structure Plan, the Caradon Local Plan (2007) and the National Planning Policy Framework paras 97 and 109. Also that it would lie close to several listed buildings, and would have detrimental effects on local residents.
Grounds for appeal:
1. That the development is inaccordance with the relevant development plan, national policy and guidance
2. That the significance of the possible impacts is disputable, and its benefits would outweigh any adverse impacts, including amenity, landscape and listed buildings
In particular, that although the site lies just within an AGLV, the nearest AONB (the Lynher and Tiddy valleys) is 7.4 km to the east, and the turbine ‘will be set back from’ (i.e. visible from!) the ‘more noteworthy’ environment of the East Looe Valley. Also, that although turbines make noise, the area is already noisy from the A38 and B2352, and there are already power lines and a quarry which ‘spoil’ the area. What is more, a similar turbine 66.7 m tall has recently been approved at Trethawle, only 2.4 km (1.5 miles) to the northwest (see below; thanks Bernie!). Finally, the appellants draw attention to the very positive assessment of the original application by the relevant Planning Officer.
However, the ‘fact’ that an area is already ‘spoiled’ is not an argument for spoiling it further, especially if it lies within an AGLV. The fact that there is already another 67 m tall turbine at Trethawle only 1.5 miles to the northwest surely means that the (cumulative) impact of this development is greater than it was at the time of the original application, and it should be refused.
Why are Cornwall’s Planning Officers so gung-ho in favour of developments which will ruin the Cornish Landscape?
PA12/03543 | Erection of single wind turbine with maximum blade tip height of 67 metres, formation of new vehicular access track and associated infrastructure | Land At Fursdon Farm Horningtops Liskeard Cornwall PL14 3PZ
Lowertown Farm, Trewidland, Liskeard – Refused
Lowertown Farm, Trewidland, Liskeard – Wind turbine – refused
Lowertown Farm, Trewidland, Liskeard – Wind turbine – appeal
Lower Trenode Farm, Bylane End, Looe
Pensipple Farm, Liskeard – Finally Approved?
Trethawle Farm, Liskeard – Wind turbine
Wringworthy Farm, Morval- Screening – EIA Not Required
5 MW, 9.3 ha Solar Array, 22,000 PV panels either side of the main A387 link from the A38 to Looe. The site lies on ‘probably Grade3b/4 agricultural land’, and is in an AGLV, but the nearest AONB is ‘many miles away’ (Yes, just west of Looe [6.5 km, 4 miles! away]). It will only be ‘glimpsed fleetingly’ from the road, and only drivers of commercial vehicles will really be able to see it properly, and in any case, the developers will make the hedge bigger. No problems with glint & glare with low, southwestering sun during winter time then? Lorry drivers are never dazzled?
Planning Application Comments for Fursdon Farm, Horningtops, liskeard PA11/01902 – Aardvark – 1st Feb 2011