Controversial Fleggburgh turbines plan passed

PUBLISHED: 19:56 18 October 2012 | UPDATED: 09:37 19 October 2012

Michael Castle used his casting vote to pass the turbines.Picture: James Bass

Michael Castle used his casting vote to pass the turbines.Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

A CONTROVERSIAL scheme to erect two 20m wind turbines on farm land in Fleggburgh has been passed to the dismay of residents.

Plans for the 20kw turbines at a poultry farm in Mill Lane were approved by a slim margin after the chairman of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s planning committee used his casting vote to push the scheme through, when members’ vote ended in deadlock.

The decision disappointed concerned residents at Tuesday’s meeting who spoke out against the turbines proposal, which had attracted more than 60 letters of objection - including one from Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis who said he could not support such an “unsuitable development”.

The plans were the third attempt to get the turbines approved and identical to an earlier proposal which was thrown out in October last year - but Norwich Airport and the MoD had both dropped their earlier objections to the scheme.

Martin Price, who spoke on behalf of applicant Rob Rafferty, said his client - one of the UK’s largest chicken producers - had to lower his carbon footprint through new specifications laid down by his customers, many of whom were large supermarkets, and last year’s refusal had “forced” the farm to close.

Mr Price added: “He wants to reopen to trial new feed and different methods of working but that can only happen if the carbon footprint can be reduced.”

He also ruled out the use of solar panels - as suggested by residents and opposing councillors - due to the “limited space” available.

Maureen Mitchell, who lives near the farm, spoke out against the plans.

She said: “The judge in the Hemsby wind turbine appeal said lower carbon emissions do not take presidency over concerns of local people - local people are very concerned.

“(This is) a multi national company who are just concerned, with respect, for profit.

“This is at the expense of our local Norfolk environment and feelings and well being of the villagers.”

Her objections were supported by Charles Reynolds who thought the turbines would be a “blasted blight” on the landscape and told the committee he would be voting against the proposal in protest.

“Sometimes we have got to stand up for the local people a little bit,” he added.

But chairman Michael Castle said it would not be “sensible” to take an “emotional approach” to the plans for the “small” turbines that had not raised objections from any agencies, such as the MoD or Natural England.

The committee’s vote was split after it was moved to approve the proposal and Mr Castle used his casting vote to give it the final go ahead.

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