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Wind giants on the way?

The Corton skyline could soon be dominated by two new wind turbines, which potentially could become the largest in Britain – dwarfing popular Lowestoft landmark Gulliver by some 70m.

The Journal can today exclusively reveal that early talks are underway with a view to local engineering and energy giant SLP installing the two new turbines at designated sites in the village.

Corton Parish Council chairman David Butcher received a “pre-cursor” notice at the weekend. And while he admitted to The Journal that this was not a planning application, the proposal by SLP is to build the two wind turbines – with one west of the Coast Road, between the church and Broadland Sands, and the other near the site of the old sewage works.

Yesterday, however, Paul Smith, SLP’s onshore windfarm development manager, told The Journal: “At present the site at Corton is still being assessed for the potential to accommodate wind turbines and at this stage we are not able to provide further details.”

But ahead of the parish council’s next meeting on Tuesday, November 7, Mr Butcher was quick to point out that the views of the village were still being sought.

“No overall decisions have been made or taken yet and this is still at a very early stage for us,” he said.

“It’s difficult to say what the reaction in the village will be – but this will affect everyone.

“A number of people have said to me that they are not opposed to renewable energy, but they feel the scale of this is too large,” he concluded.

With the small village boasting a population of around 1000, soon two new landmarks could take prominence in the close-knit community.

The Journal has learned that the proposed sitings for the turbines would be on the map grid reference TM59 535982 and TM59 541981.

“The height of the towers would be 341ft, with the tip of the blades reaching up to 487ft,” Mr Butcher said.

Putting this into significance by measuring this against St Bartholomew’s Church in Corton, which is one of the oldest churches in the region having been established in the 12th century, the church tower reaches 26m (85ft).

Given that these proposed turbines would dwarf the village’s main, historic landmark it would also tower over the Lowestoft turbine.

In December 2004 Britain’s largest wind turbine was completed at Ness Point, and the popular Gulliver – as christened by Journal readers – has an overall height of 126m (413ft).

Admitting he wasn’t happy about the potential loss of “important bird migration points” in the village and the size of the turbines, Mr Butcher added: “These views and concerns don’t as yet represent the council, they are my own feelings,” he said.

However, this latest proposal comes after Corton was going to be used as a sewage works for Lowestoft in the early 1990s. But after much controversy was sparked among local residents, Anglian Water instead built a water treatment centre.

But now the old sewage works site could instead host a record-breaking wind turbine.

And one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Journal: “In terms of the old sewage works, this is quite an emotive site for us – but now they want to build a turbine, it’s almost as though Corton is being used a dumping ground.”

Mr Butcher added that while “some residents may feel that way,” all concerns should be sent to the Waveney District Council planning department by November 8.

Council spokesman, Phil Harris, told The Journal yesterday: “The local planning authority has not received a planning application for such a proposal but if such an application was submitted then it would be subject to the usual wide public consultation and debate before any construction could be considered.”

The Journal revealed in September that a £4m scheme for two giant wind turbines in Kessingland had been unveiled.

SLP revealed plans to build two turbines of the same size as Gulliver – with one turbine to be built alongside the A12, while the second would be on nearby land belonging to the Africa Alive wildlife park.

Between them they would have the capacity to generate enough energy to power 3,745 homes, around 8pc of the homes in Waveney.

And upon hearing the news, Waveney MP Bob Blizzard welcomed the scheme, claiming the turbines close to the A12 would act as a “gateway” to south Lowestoft and signal the town’s green credentials.

Last month SLP also announced it was pressing ahead with a deal in the region of £100m to supply wind turbine equipment for a major scheme off the coast of Essex.

And this latest news comes in a week of much national debate, as Sir Nicholas Stern issued stark warnings in a Treasury-commissioned report that inaction on climate change may lead to a worldwide recession.