Pulham turbines tipped for refusal

A renewable energy company's hopes of building the first large-scale wind turbines in south Norfolk has received a setback after plans for three masts were tipped for refusal.

Proposals were submitted earlier this year for the wind farm on agricultural land at the former Pulham airship station, near Diss.

But the scheme by Oxford-based TCI Renewables has received more than 400 objections from residents and is being recommended for refusal by South Norfolk Councillors next week.

A special planning meeting has been arranged for 6pm on Wednesday to discuss the plans for Upper Vaunces Farm, off Semere Green Road, between the villages of Dickleburgh, Pulham Market, Pulham St Mary, and Rushall.

The applicant says that the three 126m-high turbines - taller than London's Big Ben - would provide green energy for up to 3,500 homes, reduce CO2 emissions by 7,000 tonnes a year, and create jobs.

However, the proposals have received objections from South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, Rushall and Tivetshall churches, the Norfolk Gliding Club at Tibenham, and parish councils in Burston and Shimpling, Starston, Tivetshall, Scole, Dickleburgh and Rushall, and Pulham St Mary - in addition to the more than 400 letters of objection. Pulham Market Parish Council has backed the scheme and there are almost 40 letters of support.

But officers at South Norfolk Council are recommending refusal because of the 'unacceptable' impact on the landscape and 'overbearing' affect on local residents.

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Planning officer Helen Mellors said the council recognised the positive stance taken by central government on renewable energy. However, there was a 'significant' amount of opposition from residents and campaign group 4Villages. She added that there was a 'major concern' about the potential impact on biodiversity.

The plans have received no objection from the RSPB, Natural England, the MoD, and Norwich International Airport.

William Kemp, new chairman of the planning committee, said: 'We are not there to rubber-stamp officer recommendations. We sometimes go against officer recommendations, but when we do, it is for good and sound reasons.'