Posted: Thu 25th Apr 2024

Pembrokeshire mansion wind turbine scheme to be decided by all councillors /

A twice-backed £1m scheme for a “20-storey-high” wind turbine at a Pembrokeshire mansion will have to be decided by all councillors.
Mr and Mrs Glen Peters of Western Solar Ltd are seeking permission for a single turbine on land near the Grade II-listed Rhosygilwen Mansion, which includes an arts and functions building known as Neuaddydderwen.
Members of the April meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee were recommended to refuse the scheme, despite backing it at their March meeting.
This 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.
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The last concern was later withdrawn.
In papers ahead of the April meeting, officers, again recommending refusal, 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.
Applicant Glen Peters has 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.
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.
Speaking at the April meeting, Mr Peters thanked members for their previous support, saying the scheme as a whole was expected to cost “the best part of £1m”.
Objector Paul Robertson-Marriott said the “20-storey” turbine would have “a detrimental impact” on surrounding properties.
He said the majority of the power from the existing solar farm was fed into the grid rather than powering the house, believing the turbine proposal would “ride roughshod over the status of the listed building for economic benefit”.
“Why should the local community and environment be subject to an additional economic generator that causes environmental depredation?,” he asked members.
Moving approval, Councillor John T Davies said: “What this does is compliment meeting the climate crisis; it’s not a case of who it benefits but what it benefits, the climate.”
Members backed approval by 13 votes to one, meaning a final decision on the scheme will have to be made at a future full meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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