Hempnall wind farm fight continues with fund-raising bid

Public exhibition at Hempnall Village Hall where visitors can see plans for proposed wind turbines i

Public exhibition at Hempnall Village Hall where visitors can see plans for proposed wind turbines in the village; Villagers Geoff Moulton, foreground, Rob Johnson and Trevor Shurmer, right, with SHOWT banners outside the village hall. - Credit: Adrian Judd

Campaigners celebrating a council's decision to refuse planning permission for controversial wind farm are preparing to fund-raise more than £10,000 to continue their gruelling fight against the scheme as it goes to a public inquiry.

Despite an officers' recommendation, councillors on South Norfolk Council's development management committee refused to support TCI Renewables' plan for three 126m-high turbines on the edge of Hempnall.

But because the council did not make a decision on the application within eight weeks, the matter must now be settled by a government inspector at a formal planning inquiry, due to begin on April 1.

'Our campaign has already raised £35,000 over the years to fight these applications,' said Hilary Battey, of the Stop Hempnall's Onshore Wind Turbines (SHOWT) campaign group.

'Now we are having to do exactly the same thing again.'

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SHOWT's fight against the turbines started in 2006, when a bid was made to put seven in the village.

That has now been reduced to three but resident Trevor Shurmer, of The Street, Hempnall, said he personally feared that: 'If this fails, they will keep coming back. We in the village can't rest – it has all got to be paid for and it just keeps going and on.'

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Despite that, Mr Shurmer said: 'The positive part of this is that it has brought the community together' in opposing the scheme.

Mrs Battey said SHOWT was looking to raise upwards of £10,000 to cover its costs of the public inquiry. It is sharing a barrister at the hearing with Hempnall and Saxlingham parish councils.

It already has several fundraisers planned, including cheese and wine tasting on February 7 and a quiz and chips night on February 21, both at Hempnall Village Hall.

'We're still optimistic the right decision will be made by the inspector,' said Mrs Battey. 'It has been a very gruelling fight for the community but the opposition has been maintained, which tends to show that the opposition is strongly felt.'

A spokesman for TCI Renewables said: 'We remain confident this is a good site for a wind farm that can make a valuable contribution towards the government's renewable energy targets.'

What do you think about the proposed site? Write, giving your full contact details, to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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