Ecotricity has submitted its planning application for the erection of two 2MW wind turbines and a 40 metre temporary wind monitoring mast at Symphony Farm, Cucklington. The turbines will have a total height of 100metres (328 feet) and the blade diameters will be 70metres (227.5 feet). (on this page, quotations in blue have been copied from Ecotricity’s planning application)

The landscape character of the area is summarised in their own report as being, “lush, remote and intensely rural…..with [a] scatter of modest settlements and few major buildings”.

“Small strategically-sited towns like Mere and Shaftesbury overlook the vales and the views from these high points on the scarps are often spectacular.”

“The character of the site and the immediate surroundings is strongly rural and tranquil.”

“There is a timelessness to the farmed landscape which has few jarring elements.”

“…it is possible to predict that the turbines will be a noticeable feature in this landscape…”

The landscape architect considers that, “while the turbines will be highly visible and noticeable, their impact will tend to be neutral rather than adverse”. How can that be?

Within 700 metres of the turbines lies a beautiful Grade 1 listed building and parkland. The dramatic views from the building up the escarpment will be irrevocably visually blighted by the turbines at the top. Cucklington itself is a pretty village with many listed buildings and the turbines will adversely affect the setting of the village.

Walkers, ramblers, horse riders, cyclists and other visitors to the area using the many footpaths and attractive country lanes will have their enjoyment of the rural tranquility despoiled by the out-of-scale enormity of the turbines.

This desecration of the countryside spreads much further afield.

The applicant’s landscape architect has commented that the view from King Alfred’s Tower is “not representative of views generally……. as it is a single point elevated high above the surrounding ground level and with limited accessibility”. In fact, 20,000 people climbed to the top of the Tower in 2003 during the 7 months that it was open for 7 days of the week. From the top of the 160 foot Tower, at a height of 1000 feet above sea level, it is possible to see Dunkery Beacon, 52 miles away, Glastonbury Tor 15 miles west, Cadbury Castle, Badbury Rings and Stonehenge. King Alfred’s Tower is a major tourist attraction, along with the rest of the Stourhead National Trust property, and the turbines, only 5 miles away, will blight the perfect vista appreciated by 20,000 people annually.

The applicant has done everything it can in its application to belittle this precious, beautiful and tranquil landscape in order to profit from the sale of electricity generated by these proposed turbines that are out of context with their setting. It will irrevocably damage our tourist and leisure industry from which supports our rural economy.

Save The Vale urges people and organisations to write to South Somerset District Council expressing their concern about the damaging visual impact and loss of amenity that the turbines will cause and the knock-on effects to the leisure and tourist industry.

Please write to: Ms Pauline Tillett, Chief Planning Officer – Area East, South Somerset District Council, Wincanton, Somerset, BA9 9AG, quoting the planning application number: 03/03480/FUL.