THE last of five wind turbines to be erected at Westmill Farm is now in place - a significant landmark in Adam Twine's 15-year campaign to bring green power to the former RAF Watchfield airfield.

At this stage of the process, with the five 50-metre masts, complete with their 30m blades, up and in place and the power connections to local cables ready for the off, it would seem to be too late to do anything about it.

But local resident Joanna Lambert does not believe that hosting a gathering of like-minded anti-wind farm protestors is a somewhat futile exercise.

As reported in yesterday's Adver she is this weekend organising a gathering for people who are opposed to the five-turbine wind farm at Westmill Farm, where work was scheduled to be completed yesterday.

Westmill is a unique site in the country, as it is the first 100 per cent community-owned and built wind farm, thanks to its 2,394-member cooperative.

This has been formed by people living within 50 miles of the site, although co-operative representatives were unable to confirm how many of those come from the immediate locality, or the proportion of local residents who are members.

Farmer Adam Twine has been waiting for this day for more than 15 years since first being bitten by the windpower bug, a wait prompted by a lengthy planning process and campaign to bring in enough members of the cooperative to move the scheme to its current status.

He obtained planning permission for the site, and instead of selling that on to the highest commercial bidder he opted to establish the windfarm under the auspices of the Westmill Co-Operative, of which he is one of the directors.

During the long fight for planning permission camapign groups were set up, with consent initially granted for the scheme in 1999, although various alterations to that plan have been agreed in subsequent years.

Mrs Lambert's is the latest voice to emerge against the Westmill wind farm, and despite only moving into Shrivenham in 2004, after the planning permission was granted, she denies being part of the nimby - not in my back yard - brigade.

She said that surveys carried out when buying her home in Shrivenham, where she cannot see the turbines, did point out the development but she was not fully aware of its scale until seeing it grow into being this past week.

"My reaction when I came over the hill on Friday to see they had gone up was that they are so much bigger and more dominating than I imagined.

"I was someone who thought they wouldn't be awful, but they are and have completely devasated the landscape.

"They are so enormously tall and move all the time so the eye is drawn to them, not like a building which is static and you learn to look beyond it."

She hopes Sunday's protest will give other anti-turbine lobby groups ammunation for their cause when the true extent of their impact can be seen in a vale setting.

The Westmill turbines are backed by Energy4All, which was set up in 2003 with the sole task of facilitating community-led renewable power sources.

Despite the concerns about how high the turbines are, they are mere babes compared with the second generation of turbines currently planned for an existing wind farm in Cornwall where they are looking to install 100m masts.

Angela Duigan, development director with Energy4All, was on site at Westmill yesterday watching excitedly as the final mast, hub and blades were put up.

"The need for alternative power sources outweighs anyone's personal preference or otherwise that they are too tall for the landscape," she said.

"This project has cost millions and includes a bank loan, which no-one would take on if the site wasn't economocally viable, and wind masts have been up here testing for two years.

"Of course it's not like the Highlands of Scotland for the amount of wind, but that's not where we are."

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