Villagers fight Bernard Matthews wind turbines

Villagers have a David versus Goliath battle on their hands as they make a last-ditch bid to stop wind turbines being built on a historic former World War Two airfield.

Bernard Matthews has submitted the plans for the two 125m structures to be built on the former USAF airfield at Weston Longville, near Dereham, as part of a �20m investment in green energy.

Villagers have reacted angrily to the proposals and have formed an action group to fight them. Over the past months, people in the village have held meetings, shown their MP Keith Simpson around the site and called for councillors to listen.

But Bernard Matthews insists any 'minor' adverse effects on landscape would be outweighed by its benefits.

The plans are due to go before Broadland District Council's planning committee on January 12 and villagers have vowed to be there to make their views heard.

Peter Ross, chair of the Anti Turbine Action Group (ATAG), said: 'At 125m high the proposed turbines are enormous. That's 100 feet taller than the spire of the county's tallest building, Norwich Cathedral. They would dominate our landscape and would be seen from miles around.

'If Broadland Council approves this application these turbines will dwarf the site where Parson James Woodforde famously lived and wrote his diaries in the 18th century.'

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Rev Selwyn Tillett said: 'As well as the visual impact many people living nearby are very worried about their health. There's genuine concern about shadow flicker and low frequency infra-sound which is caused by turbines of this size'.

Over the past months, the plans have ripped the village apart with some people backing the turbines and others campaigning against them.

Noise, traffic, health implications and the affect the development will have on the village have been the main concerns.

Mr Ross added: 'We say no to these giant turbines being built in our village. Our parish council and our parish plan are against such developments and we have the support of our MP.

'If approved, these turbines would be there for up to the next 25 years and so we hope for the sake of our valued and designated landscape, our children and our health and quality of life that the application will be rejected.'

The turbines would have a lifespan of 25 years – after which Bernard Matthews says the landscape would return to its present character – and would generate 25pc of the energy consumed by the business.

In the planning document, it states: 'With regard to visual amenity the proposal would not be overwhelming or overbearing and would clearly not affect amenity of residents in this way.

'The benefits of the Weston Airfield Wind Farm proposal significantly outweigh any minor additional adverse effects on landscape and visual amenity.'