Bid to hold parish poll over Bodham wind turbine plan is withdrawn

A bid to hold a parish poll to help decide on a controversial wind turbine plan in a North Norfolk village was withdrawn tonight.

At a meeting at Bodham Village Hall, a potentially contentious parish meeting about the issue lasted just 30 minutes before Terry Comber agreed to drop the call.

And within minutes, a vote among the Bodham parishioners present at the meetings found 19 against the turbine, 10 for it and five abstentions.

Parish council chairman Harry Bruford, who chaired the meeting, said: 'The parish council will take on board that vote. We will have a meeting on November 7 to decide our views.'

The meeting saw people focus solely on the debate about whether to have a parish poll, which the council said would cost �500 - money that it did not have in its coffers.

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Peter Alexander, from The Dell in Bodham, said: 'It seems odd to me that we consider going down this route when it's been made abundantly clear that the parish council doesn't have the reserves.'

He said he feared the move would lead to the council withdrawing grant funding for organisations including the Citizens' Advice Bureau and the parish church in Bodham.

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He added: 'I implore you not to seek a poll and thus put the parish council in such a position that it has no choice other than to prune payments made to charities.'

Chris Armstrong said: 'I am proud to be a Nimby. It's a hell of a good backyard and I'm proud to protect it.'

But he outlined a list of reasons against the parish poll, including the possibility of a low turnout and a 'result that you do not expect'.

Mr Comber, who called for the parish poll at a previous meeting, initially said he would withdraw the bid if the parish council agreed to remain 'neutral' on the issue of the turbine.

But, following suggestions that the council was 'exercising its democratic right' to take a view, he agreed to withdraw it anyway.

The application by Genatec to build a solitary wind turbine on farmland in Bodham has divided locals in and around the village.

Those against say it will blight the landscape, pave the way for more like it and devalue properties. Residents in favour, however, think the 84m-high turbine is an opportunity for the area to take an environmental step forward and help secure future energy supplies.

The row has now escalated to such a scale that both parties have stepped up their campaigns to include online petitions, websites, pages on social media sites and bumper stickers to push their side of the argument.

Applicant Genatec said, if built, the turbine would have the capacity, when the wind was blowing, to create enough electricity to power 600-700 homes and its supplies would be kept local as it would feed into West Beckham's substation.

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