North Norfolk District Council planners set to approve two wind turbines for East Ruston

Two wind turbines in a north Norfolk village are set to get the go-ahead next week.

An even balance of nearly 100 letters apiece in favour and against the proposal, for Old Manor Farm, Long Common, East Ruston, have been received by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC).

The council's development committee, meeting on Thursday September 20, has been recommended to approve John McLeod's application which has raised no objections from conservation and landscape, air-safety or highways bodies.

But one opponent said the prospect of two more turbines in the village had left him and his partner distraught.

William Ward, of Back Street, said the turbines, measuring nearly 25m to blade tip, would be clearly visible from their cottage, about 400m away, as was an even taller single turbine on Mill Road, granted permission in March.

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'We get flicker from that one,' said Mr Ward. 'The first thing you see from the kitchen and the study is that great thing, not just standing there, but waving at you.'

The proposed turbines, which feature a tapering, latticed design, looked like 'Something someone's knocked together from a few bits of old scaffolding - very Heath Robinson,' Mr Ward added.

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'This is our 'forever' home. The worrying prospect is that once we get these two, we're going to get even more applications.'

East Ruston Parish Council has expressed 'mixed feelings' but has also voiced concern that the application 'could open the floodgates for more to pop up everywhere.'

Mr Ward and his partner were among 97 people who wrote opposing the plan. Comments included fears that it could set a precedent and that the turbines would be an eyesore in a landscape of rural character.

NNDC also received 96 letters in support with writers welcoming a scheme whose environmental benefits far outweighed any negligible impact.

Mr McCleod plans to use the power produced by the turbines to make the farm and farmhouse self-sufficient in electricity.

He said he had abandoned a taller, 66m-high, turbine bid after listening to the views of the local community.

In a report to Thursday's committee, NNDC's landscape officer said there were currently only a few turbines in the wider landscape and their impact on its intrinsic beauty and historic character was small.

The officer added: 'The general scale and height of these structures has been such that they do not 'dominate' the landscape.

'They help to interpret and punctuate the landscape. Any turbine higher than those already approved in the vicinity, or currently being considered would, in my view, be inappropriate, as would too many of them.'

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