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The Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing has refused consent to Awel Aman Tawe to erect a wind turbine, hard standing and access tracks on common land in south Wales.
The threatened common is Cefn Gwrhyd Common in the community of Cwmllynfell in Neath Port Talbot.
Although Awel Aman Tawe had obtained planning consent for the development, it also needed consent from the Welsh minister, under section 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925, for works on common land. It had to meet the test that the works would be ‘of benefit to the neighbourhood’. The Open Spaces Society, which is consulted about all applications for works on common land because of its expertise in this area, objected along with many others.
We argued that the wind turbine and its associated paraphernalia would be a blot on this beautiful, open landscape on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It was to be sited on almost the highest point of the mountain and would therefore be highly visible, suburbanising a wild area.
The public has the right to walk and ride over every part of this common. The development would interfere with their quiet enjoyment of this lovely place.
We are relieved that the Welsh Assembly Government agreed with us and refused the application.’
On behalf of the environment minister, Mr Stephen Jones, deputy head of the planning division’s decisions branch, wrote: ‘I consider that the proposed access road and wind turbine would not, because of their adverse effect on the open character of the land and its value for recreation and public enjoyment, be of benefit to the neighbourhood.’