A FLURRY of more objections resulted in controversial plans by an Abbotskerswell company to construct a hydropower scheme at Huckworthy Mill, Sampford Spiney, being deferred by Dartmoor National Park Authority's development management committee on Friday.

CGP (South West) Ltd intend using water from the River Walkham, utilising the existing leat, which would operate a cross flow turbine with peak generation of 100kw equivalent to the needs of around 100 homes.

It had also applied for permission to instal a new fish-pass on the existing river weir — also deferred.

Director of planning Stephen Belli said as well as the objections there had been counter objections to the construction management proposals, and there were concerns about construction vehicle access.

'We feel the report before you is incomplete. I feel because of all the uncertainty we do need to reconsider and to defer the applications to allow the officers to look into all the comments and objections received in fairness to the objectors and the applicant,' he said.

Mr Belli stated that a deferral would give the committee the opportunity to hold a site visit.

Members agreed and Philip Sanders made it clear that it was 'absolutely essential' that members walked both banks of the river.

Representatives of the Environment Agency and English Heritage are to be invited to the site visit after Stuart Barker said it would be helpful to have more information on weirs and rivers.

A primary concern of objectors is that the abstraction of water would result in a depleted stretch of the river bringing a detrimental effect on migratory fish which is an important nursery ground for the Walkham and Tavy river system.

They believe changing it from a fast flowing to slow channel over a long reach will affect its character and salmon spawning grounds for generations.

Mr Belli made a plea to the public not to send in any more objections – the date for which had closed.

'We have received construction management plans from the applicant, and the only objections we will receive in the next 14 days are to that plan,' he said.