Council reconsults on Hethel turbine plans

English Heritage says it does not wish to formally object to controversial plans to build three new wind turbines at Hethel.

South Norfolk Council has resumed consultations into proposals by Ecotricity to construct the turbines, with a maximum height of up to 120m, at the Lotus car factory – which were originally approved in 2008.

In July, the authority was ordered to pay �30,000 in legal costs at the Court of Appeal following a ruling which quashed the authority's decision on the basis that it did not consult English Heritage on the plans.

The successful appeal was lodged by campaign group The Friends of Hethel after the dismissal of their case at the High Court last November.

In a written judgement, Lord Justice Sullivan, one of the country's most senior law judges, said the council had wrongly failed to consult English Heritage as it was required to do so due to the application's potential impact on the setting of grade I or II listed buildings.

He added that consultation with the organisation could change the result when the matter is reconsidered.

The application has since been resubmitted with residents, parish councils and consultees – now including English Heritage – being asked if they would like to make any further comments.

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In a letter to planning officers, David Eve, inspector of historic buildings at English Heritage, said the overall impact on the area's historical buildings would not be of a level for him to formally object to the proposals in principle.

'The height and kinetic nature of the proposed turbines will have an impact on the wider setting of a number of grade I and II listed buildings, but I am not convinced that their significance as buildings of architectural and historic interest will be substantially harmed,' he said.

But he expressed concern about the potential impact on two buildings in Wreningham – the parish church and the 17th-century house High Hall – and asked the council to investigate if any amendments to the plans were possible to reduce the development's impact.

'Neither of these buildings command formal views or relate to designated landscapes but the views in question do illustrate aspects of their historic significance, as do their rural settings in general. I am therefore concerned that some harm to that significance could result from the development,' said Mr Eve.

Comments on the application should be sent to South Norfolk Council by October 18. All comments made previously will automatically be taken into account.