A farmer who turned down an offer of £1million to put a wind turbine on his land because he wanted to keep the countryside “beautiful and unspoilt” has been vindicated after a neighbour’s application was dismissed by a planning inspector.
Tony Dallyn spurned offers from two developers to install the 250ft device in a field at Loosedown Barton farm, in Winkleigh, Devon.
The 55-year-old felt the mast would “blight” views of rolling farmland close to the Okement Valley, were local author Michael Morpurgo set his best selling book, film and stage play War Horse.
However, he faced having to look out on an “unsightly” turbine anyway – because neighbouring farmer Martin Goddard agreed to have one on his land just 450 metres from away from Mr Dallyn’s farmhouse.
Torridge District Council failed to grant permission for the mast, which would have stood 77m to blade tip, at Bryony Hill Farm, Iddesleigh and this week an appeal following that was dismissed because of the impact the scheme would have on the landscape.
Mr Dallyn turned down an offer in 2013 which would have earned £1.14 million over 20 years because he was not prepared to “inflict” the turbine on locals.
“It would have been a life changing amount of money which could have financed the next step of the business but the turbine would have towered above the hillside and been a huge blight on the landscape,” he told the Western Morning News.
Mr Dallyn, who grows wheat and barley on his farm and hopes to pass the business on to his son, added: “It is a tough one to call and a lot of money to turn down and I can understand why some people would take it.
“I just feel I would like to leave my small patch of England as beautiful and unspoilt as it was when I inherited it.”
Yesterday, wife Rosalyn told the WMN the couple were “delighted”.
“It would have been such a blight on this beautiful landscape,” she added.
Planning inspector Sukie Tamplin concluded that the scheme would be “seriously harmful” to the “timeless qualities” of the remote area.
In an apparent reference to Mr Morpurgo’s Great War novel, she said the “literary and artistic connections, past and present, are celebrated and these to a greater or lesser degree are bound up in the tranquillity and beauty of the landscape and its unchanging character”.
The inspector said recent policy changes announced included in a ministerial statement last month had been considered but the scheme would have been rejected anyway.
She added that “the turbine would be a dominant and discordant feature of the pastoral scene”.
“The landscape hereabouts is presently almost untouched by major or large scale development with an absence of major infrastructure or pylons and thus the large scale of the turbine together with its movement would have a significant impact on the gentle pastoral scene,” she added.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) welcomed the decision.
Penny Mills, from CPRE Devon, said the Government is "now at last aware of the devastating effects that wind turbines are having on our countryside and on the people who live and work within it".
"We also welcome the fact that the Government is now saying that only wind turbine applications that have the support of the local community would be able to be approved," she added.
"This wind turbine in the beautiful 'War Horse valley' quite clearly did not have the support of the majority of local people, as the overwhelming majority objected to it. "This proposal has been like a dark cloud hanging over the area for a very long time - its two years since the screening opinion was first submitted, so this decision is a great relief."