December 7 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The decision on whether a controversial 125-metre high wind turbine should be built on a farm at Barsham, near Beccles, will now be taken to a public inquiry.
Waveney District Council refused Stamford Renewables’ application to build the 2MW turbine on land at Laurels Farm in March on noise and visual impact grounds. However, Stamford Renewables lodged an appeal against the decision and now a government inspector will hold an inquiry to decide if the application should go ahead.
The plan has caused controversy with residents’ opposition group HALT, which has been granted rule six status as a group with a local interest to allow members to present evidence at the inquiry.
Philip Johnson, leader of the group, said: “We always thought that it would end in a public inquiry and we are going to play as big a part as possible.
“We think the landscape is not right for a turbine. It is too small scale and it would damage the landscape to an unnecessary degree. It is also too close to homes and the impact on residents would be grossly unfair.
“This is the showdown but there is every possibility that they could come back with another application. What we are saying is for the small amount of electricity it would generate it is not worth the trouble it would cause.”
The inquiry will also include representations from Waveney District Council and Stamford Renewables, who previously submitted applications to build three and then two turbines on the site.
Mike Stamford, chief executive of Stamford Renewables, said the turbine would meet the Government’s minimum safety requirements in terms of noise and that the effect of a single turbine on the landscape is being “overexaggerated.”
He said: “This one turbine is absolutely critical to help with our renewable energy target to help the lights stay on in 2016.
“We have listened to the community because we’ve reduced the application from three turbines to one. The community has had the chance to voice their concerns for several years and now it’s time it is concluded.”
The inquiry will be held at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre in Ditchingham from October 15 to 18 from 10am to 5pm and members of the public are welcome to attend.
A complaint by a local resident challenging four claims printed in a leaflet distributed by Stamford Renewables for the Laurels Farm development has also been upheld as “misleading” by the Advertising Standards Authority.
However Mr Stamford said they are appealing the decision to independent reviewer Sir Hayden Phillips on the grounds that the investigation and adjudication process was flawed.