Villagers vocal over new Shipdham wind farm application

Villagers had a lively debate after an energy company submitted a fresh application to build two giant wind turbines near homes.

The proposal to build the 100m high structures at Wood Farm on Church Lane, Shipdham, near Dereham, has been put forward to Breckland Council by Ecotricity.

This move follows a decade-long battle, during which time the energy company has failed to win approval for its scheme to build two turbines in the village.

Applications have been made to Breckland Council and appeals have also been taken to the planning inspectorate and the High Court.

At the meeting at Shipdham's Thomas Bullock Primary School, 70 people turned out from the village and nearby Bradenham.

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The discussion had been arranged by Shipdham Parish Council and was opened by Steve Kite, chairman of the group Campaign Against Turbines in Shipdham (CATS).

Representations were also made from the group Challenge Against Nimbyism in Shipdham (CANIS) and Nick Hoare, a villager against the application.

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Ecotricity and the landowner did not attend the meeting despite being invited by the parish council.

Mr Kite said: 'It was a serious exchange of views. It is extremely frustrating because after having three public inquiries, at considerable expense to the taxpayer, the application is very much the same. It is regrettable that planning law allows this to happen.'

Criticisms of the application include the proximity to homes, the affect of wildlife and the amount of noise, which would come from the turbines. The revised layout proposes that the turbines would be 630m away from the nearest homes – 200m further than the previous design.

But Mr Kite said the proposed turbines would still be close to village homes in the hamlet Daffy Green.

Speaking about the meeting, Geoff Hinchliffe, spokesman for CANIS added: 'The nimbys turned out in force. I still believe they don't represent the overall feelings in the village.'

Mike Cheshire, spokesman for Ecotricity, said the presence of a project developer at a local meeting could sometimes prove 'inflammatory and counter-productive' but they would answer individual queries.

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