Dunsland Cross Wind Farm
Welcome to the Dunsland Cross Wind Farm networking site. The aim of this site is to keep you informed about Bolsterstone's proposal to build three wind turbines at Dunsland Cross next to the village of Brandis Corner.
Since May 2008 we have been active within the local community distributing our Community Newsletters and gathering information. Copies of our newsletters are posted on this site and they explain who we are and what we are trying to achieve. A review of all the documents posted will give you access to information, which might not be included in the actual development proposal.
If you wish to make any comments about this proposal please use our contact page to send an email.
A series of applications to discharge the conditions imposed by the Inspector at the appeal has been submitted to Torridge District Council (TDC). The initial exchanges of correspondence can be followed on the TDC planning website by searching on 'Dunsland Cross' or specifically by searching for application numbers 1/0074/2015/DIS, 1/0077/2015/DIS, 1/0079/2015/DIS & 1/0086/2015/DIS.
The new owners are seeking to install larger (but not taller) turbines than those upon which all of the visual, ecological and noise assessments and judgements were based during the Inquiry. This confirms what DTOG has maintained all along: this is a sub-optimal wind site. The candidate turbine used for the Inquiry had a tower length of 60m and a blade length of 40m. The new proposal is for a tower length of 55m and a blade length of 45m, meaning the blades will be just 10m above the ground at the lowest point of their 200 mph sweep. The rotor-swept area will by 27% larger than that expected by the Inspector. This is not only contrary to TDC's design guidelines, it will also have increased adverse effects in terms of visual, ecological and noise impacts.
The new owner also seems to think that it is only necessary to rewrite the condition verbatim and send it back to TDC with a promise to do some work in the future in order for the condition to be discharged. It is not supposed to work like that. The work comes first and if deemed acceptable, the condition is then discharged.
Significant problems are forecast for TV reception in 249 homes in the immediate area when the turbines become operational. The proposed mitigation is likely to fall far short of that which will actually be required to restore services to the level each householder enjoyed previously. DTOG has tabled a series of questions in this regard.
Condition 19 requires the submission of a workable Ecological Management Plan (EMP) to minimise bird and bat deaths. It requires a revised EMP to be submitted if the surveys upon which it is reliant are 12 months or more out of date. The surveys in the EMP submitted are at least 4 years old.
DTOG sought to challenge the detail in the EMP at the Inquiry but the appellant refused to allow the ecologist who authored it to take the stand and be cross-examined by DTOG's advocate. DTOG is now pointing out the fundamental flaws and specific errors in the submitted EMP to the TDC Case Officer.
As was widely expected, Bolsterstone, the property and investments company which spent over seven years trying to get planning permission, has sold the project on. The new funder will be Temporis Capital LLP and the project management on the ground will be taken forward by Natural Power Consultants Ltd.
Whether or not these companies will just try to add value by discharging conditions and further sell on the project before construction remains to be seen.
The full Public Inquiry was held over 4 days in the week before Christmas 2013. The Inspector's decision to allow the Appeal was announced on 30 January 2014. His decision notice is available below:
There were four issues under consideration at the Inquiry: Visual impact of the turbines on the landscape, visual impact on the nearest properties, noise impact on the nearest properties and impact on bats. Although proofs of evidence had been supplied by the Appellant's Noise and Ecology witnesses, the Appellant chose not to allow them to take the stand at the Inquiry and have that evidence tested in cross-examination. The reason given for this was that it was imperative that the Inquiry finished on time and did not overrun into 2014.
The informal Hearing set to start on Tuesday 20th August has been cancelled. On 14th August the Planning Inspector for the Hearing decided a full Public Inquiry is now required instead. This will push the Appeal back several months. New dates are yet to be announced. It is not known if the same Inspector will preside at the Inquiry.
Following the refusal for the 3-turbine wind farm Bolsterstone lodged an Appeal with the Planning Inspectorate on 11th March. They requested a full Public Inquiry lasting a few days with expert witnesses being examined and cross-examined by lawyers, arguing that the reasons for refusal were complex and needed to be tested. Torridge District Council (TDC) argued that they were not complex but straightforward, so a full Public Inquiry was not needed and an informal Hearing would suffice.
The Planning Inspectorate agreed with TDC and on 23rd April set the wheels in motion for an informal Hearing at a venue and on a date yet to be announced. The 6-week time limit for new submissions to the Inspector was set to expire on 4th June.
The Appeal reference No. is APP/W1145/A/13/2194484 and the case notes can be accessed either on the TDC planning website searching on 1/1250/2011/FULM or the Planning Inspectorate Case Search page at http://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/casesearch.asp where only the number 2194484 need be entered in the case reference box before clicking on 'Search for Cases'.