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Mansion turbine plans backed after airport safety fears dropped

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PLANS for a 200-foot-high wind turbine to power a north Pembrokeshire mansion and arts charity home have been backed after fears it would threaten the safe operation of the nearby West Wales Airport were dropped.

Mr and Mrs Glen Peters of Western Solar Ltd sought permission for a single turbine on land near the Grade II-listed Rhosygilwen Mansion, which includes an arts and functions building known as Neuaddydderwen.

The application for the 62-metre-high turbine and associated works, was recommended for refusal at the March meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee, having been deferred at the January meeting, pending a site visit.

The application, supported by Cilgerran Community Council, was initially recommended for refusal at the January meeting for several reasons, including 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 airport manager at West Wales Airport had objected to the proposed development due to possible interference with radar systems.

At the March meeting, members heard the concerns raised by West Wales airport had now been withdrawn, but the application was still recommended for refusal on the grounds of the impact on the sting of the mansion, with the council’s historic buildings and landscape officers raising concerns.

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Agent and specialist renewable energy developer Infinite Renewables Limited, in its supporting statement, says the proposed turbine would supply the large majority of power required to run the mansion’s heat pump during the winter, replacing the existing solar system.

Applicant Glen Peters has said the application for a turbine was “made on both financial and ideological grounds,” to 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 said that, despite 200-year-old Rhosygilwen using power from its solar farm, the first of its kind in Wales, along with ground source heating a biomass power, it was hit with “huge increases in importing energy from the grid” during the winter months.

Moving approval against officer recommendations, Cllr John T Davies said, unlike some wind turbine applications, the siting of the turbine would be “discrete,”adding the turbine would sustain “a very important aspect of economic activity in north Pembrokeshire” that was regularly used by TV companies, and was “a great community benefit,” being used as a community hub.

“This will add to the sustainability of Neuaddydderwen; in 1995 it did burn down but was restored to its former glory; we could be sitting here today and there could be no listed building.”

He was seconded by Cllr Brian Hall, who said his only concern had been the previous issue raised by West Wales Airport.

The application was backed on a ‘minded to’ approval, meaning it will return to a future meeting for ratification after a ‘cooling off’ period, expected to be the April planning meeting.

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