Row over Norfolk airfield wind farm to continue as plans revived

Pulham airfield

Pulham airfield - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

A row over a controversial wind farm development on a former Norfolk airfield looks set to continue after opponents rejected re-submitted plans for the turbines, just months after a similar scheme was thrown out by a planning inspector.

Oxfordshire-based TCI Renewables has applied to South Norfolk Council for permission to build three wind turbines at Upper Vaunces Farm between Rushall, Dickleburgh, Pulham Market and Pulham St Mary, which could generate between 6MW and 9MW of renewable energy during a 25 year working life.

But Eric Kirby, joint chairman of Tivetshall Action Group, which is opposed to the wind farm along with 4Villages residents group, said the revised plan to move the turbines closer together and away from boundaries so they did not overlook neighbouring residents and buildings would make little difference.

In October, planning inspector Zoe Hill upheld a council decision to refuse previous plans for three 126m high turbines on the grounds the high rise structures would have an impact on local residents and affect the landscape and local listed buildings.

Mr Kiby said: 'From what I have seen of the plans, I saw little change from the original plan. All they have done is moved the turbines closer together and away from certain boundaries that were problematic before.

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'In my opinion, moving a turbine 11m or 12m does not make much difference in the eye of the beholder. I would suggest they have moved it to try and play on what the inspector stated. They have just juggled them slightly to get more distance and I doubt in real terms if it is going to make much difference.'

The latest plans show the turbines would be together in a tighter cluster than in the previous application to take into account the inspector's concerns about the effect on the character of the landscape, residential amenity and the Grade I listed St Mary's Church at Rushall.

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The plans, which were thrown out by the council in 2010, attracted almost 40 letters of support, but also received more than 400 letters of objection, as well as opposition from South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market, the Norfolk Gliding Club at Tibenham, two churches and six nearby parish councils.

The decision to refuse the appeal was welcomed by south Norfolk MP Richard Bacon and followed a hard fought campaign by the 4Villages residents group against the plans.

A design and access statement from the developer suggests the turbines could produce enough electricity annually to meet the average needs of 3,300 homes and prevent 7,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide escaping into the atmosphere.

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