Breckland Council votes for site visit after Shipdham wind turbine debate

A decade-long wind turbine planning saga will continue after planners unanimously voted to go on a site visit.

The Ecotricity application to build two 100-metre high wind turbines on agricultural land at Wood Farm, Church Lane, between Bradenham and Shipdham near Dereham, was discussed by Breckland Council's planning committee this afternoon (Monday).

Planning officers made a recommendation for its approval, but a site visit was passed.

Over the past 10 years a number of appeals and inquiries and a High Court judicial review have taken place over the wind turbine plan.

Mike Brennan, Breckland planning officer, said 130 letters of support had been received, compared to 79 letters of objection.

He added there were no significant grounds on noise to refuse the application and the turbines would not have a 'significant impact' on the landscape.

Main concerns from objectors included the constant noise, which would affect the 'tranquil' area.

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David Hill, from Bradenham, said a woodland area 100 metres from the proposed site, dedicated to his son, Alexander, who died aged 19, would be affected.

Dr Hoare, a resident from nearby Daffy Green, said she was concerned about impact of the turbines on children in the area, including her teenage son who was recovering from brain surgery.

Geoff Hinchliffe, speaking for the group Challenge Against Nimbyism in Shipdham, which supports the application, said: 'After some 10 years on a treadmill of campaigns and decisions and appeals, that the exaggerations and misleading claims have been dispelled and the legitimate concerns have been met and satisfied.'

Breckland refused permission in 2002 due to the impact on the landscape and traffic concerns.

The application was refused on appeal a year later due to potential noise problems and in 2005 a new plan for two smaller turbines was turned down by Breckland as there were concerns about civil aircraft safety.

But an appeal in 2006 was allowed and the inspector highlighted that it tied in with the government's energy policies.

However, that appeal decision was quashed at the High Court and it was referred back to the Planning Inspectorate.

Nick Osbourne, spokesman for Ecotricity, said: 'We are disappointed that the Planning Committee were not able to come a decision today. However, we fully appreciate that committee members must be aware of all the details of the proposal and we hope a site visit will reassure them of the suitability of the site.'

The Environment Agency and Natural England have not objected to the application but the Campaign to Protect Rural England Norfolk is opposed to the plan.

Bradenham and Shipdham parish councils and Charles Carter, Breckland councillor for the area which would be developed, are also against it.

Mr Carter said: 'This is a 10-year issue which is wasting people's time, money and effort.'

The next planning meeting is due to take place on August 6.

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