A single wind turbine that would have loomed almost 200 feet above a valley in Devon has been refused planning permission after fears the countryside could be turned into a "giant pincushion".
At 60 metres (197 feet) from base to blade-tip, the proposed turbine near Rackenford was deemed too large to be of a scale relevant to a single farm business – North Devon Council's planning committee was also concerned the structure would be too close to its nearest neighbours.
More than a dozen people protesting against the wind turbine at Sydeford Farm near Rackenford attended the meeting in Barnstaple this week. Objections ranged from fears the turbine would spoil the landscape for miles around, to more detailed accusations of misplaced grid references and wrongly placed noise-monitoring equipment.
Committee members were unanimous in their decision to reject permission for the turbine, saying it was out of scale when linked to the single farm business which was proposing the site and also because it was too close (less than 500 metres) to the nearest neighbouring property.
Rackenford parish councillor Patrick Ellis-Jones said his small authority was objecting to the turbine because it was in a "specially beautiful" valley.
"This is a very tall turbine that will be seen all around – and also from Exmoor. How can this fail to conflict with the local plan policy?" asked Mr Ellis Jones.
David Morgans, from nearby Knowstone parish, was joined by other objectors when he claimed the application should not even be considered until the full outcome of a much larger proposed wind farm plan on a neighbouring ridge was known.
"This area of North Devon could soon resemble a giant pincushion," he said.
Bob Barfoot, representing the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in Devon, said: "I can't understand how the planning officer has come to the conclusion that this should be approved. The Iron Mill Stream forms a tranquil valley – how can a turbine which is the equivalent of a 20-storey building not detract from the beauty of area?"
The applicant, Stephen Elam, told the meeting the turbine would be sited to achieve maximum efficiency with local wind conditions and that the government electricity feed-in tariff programme encouraged schemes close to the point of consumption.
But the planning committee voted to refuse the plans.