Packed council office hears first day of Norfolk wind turbine planning inquiry

Protestors against wind turbine plans outside Hempnall Village Hall Protestors against wind turbine plans outside Hempnall Village Hall

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
4:06 PM

Developers behind controversial plans for three wind turbines at a south Norfolk village hailed the scheme as a “good fit” with local planning policy at the start of a planning inquiry.

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David Hardy, representing renewable energy firm TCI Renewables, said the plans for the 126m high wind turbines on land at Busseys Loke in Hempnall would meet important national renewable energy targets, mitigate the effects of climate change, provide Norfolk with energy security and reduce the cost of energy bills to the consumer.

However, villagers in Hempnall, including a number who attended the planning inquiry at South Norfolk Council’s offices on Tuesday, have been opposed to the proposals because they fear the scheme would have an adverse visual impact on the surrounding area as well as creating noise for residents.

Mr Hardy said a previous planning inspector had established the principle of building a wind farm at Hempnall, while there would not be any harm to the surrounding areas of Saxlingham Green, Fritton and Thetford Farm.

He added: “The truth is that the proposed development has a good degree of fit with the guidelines in the council’s study. In other words, the council is getting a good wind farm in accordance with its guidance.”

The three turbines would also bring community benefits, he added, while the installation could also be dismantled quite easily, concluding that the benefits of the scheme outweighed the disadvantages.

But the council’s barrister Asitha Ranatunga told the inquiry, held by planning inspector John Braithwaite, a previous plan for seven turbines on the same appeal site had been turned down by inspector David Lavender in 2009 due to the potential harm on the landscape character and cultural heritage harm to nearby Grade I listed St Margaret’s Church, the Hempnall conservation area, as well as bat populations and equestrian routes.

He also said the developer had taken two goes at producing an “acceptable” scheme, having reduced the number of turbines on the site, but these would still have a detrimental impact on the surrounding area.

“The reality is that the unacceptable impacts resulting from the appeal scheme will be present for a generation at least and local people will have to live amongst and around these turbines for that substantial period,” Mr Ranatunga added.

And Zack Simons, a solicitor representing Hempnall Parish Council, referred to a report by landscape consultant Michelle Bulger, who also raised concerns about the impact of the development on the surrounding area, as well as the bat population.

Among the villagers present were representatives of the Stop Hempnall’s Onshore Wind Turbines (SHOWT) campaign group.

Where should wind turbines be built? Email dominic.bareham@archant.co.uk.

5 comments

  • You can't build around here. This is a local area for local people with local ideas and local relatives and local shops filled with local things. Are you local ?

    Report this comment

    Del Boy

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • EDP, you ask where wind turbines should be built? Answer; NOWHERE. They are ugly, inefficient, noisy blots on the landscape and it is time that those that are elected to represent the wishes of the majority actually listened and issued a blanket ban on them in Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • Wow, it's amazing that business people and their advisors investing millions of pounds in turbines around the world are the only ones who haven't noticed that they don't make enough energy or money... Or maybe that's codswallop and turbines actually work. Maybe we should listen to the majority and have a blanket ban on dozens of things people are not in a position to actually have a reasoned opinion on. The only major health issue with Turbines is the high blood pressure that NIMBYs build up over turbines of all things.

    Report this comment

    Paul Hunt

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Is there a development happening in Norfolk that doesn't have a massive NIMBY campaign behind it? This is one of the many reasons we don't achieve anything in this region

    Report this comment

    Steady On

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • They are no where near as ugly as the solar farms that are popping up everywhere, now they are a real blot on the landscape. There are two wind turbines close to me and they are not a problem, people need to accept alternative sources of energy, they are not the answer, but they are part of it. Good job our ancestors didn't have the same NIMBY views on all the wind mills and wind pumps that cover the Norfolk Broads, had they adopted the same out look the Broads and surrounding farm lands wouldn't exist as they do now and we would still be grinding grain as they do in third world countries. What is wrong with a wind turbine that takes up a very small area of land compared to the hundreds of acres these ridiculous solar farms take up. I agree with Steady On. Norfolk is going backwards, and I wonder how many of those protesting are locals and not people who have moved here from the big city? Build them and get on with it.

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

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