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No turbines, but yes please to £1.5m

Sporle Parish Council has called on green energy firm Ecotricity to withdraw its idea for a 12-turbine wind park north of the A47 Swaffham bypass.

It has also welcomed what it claims was an offer from the company to Swaffham and District Swimming Pool Association to contribute £1.5 million towards building a long-awaited pool in the town.

But both Ecotricity’s managing director Dale Vince and SPA chairman Marian Clements have denied knowledge of the offer.

Ecotricity has submitted a request to Breckland Council laying out the potential environmental impacts of the wind park scheme and asking what other issues planners want investigated.

Mr Vince said his company was still in talks with Breckland Council, which has yet to give it an official response.

But in a press release, Sporle council chairman Martin Hickey said he was delighted to learn that “at a very senior level” Breckland had advised Ecotricity’s management that its proposal would contravene the council’s planning guidance on wind energy development in several aspects.

“In the light of this unequivocal position, Sporle Parish Council is now calling on Ecotricity to withdraw its proposal completely,” he said.

Sporle fears that ten of the 400ft wind turbines would fall within its parish, and is opposed to any such development.

On behalf of its residents, Mr Hickey said the parish council welcomed Ecotricity’s offer to SPA to contribute £1.5 million towards a pool in Swaffham, “and looks forward to hearing that this amount has been swiftly transferred to SPA’s bank account”.

Mr Vince said anything Mr Hickey had heard was unofficial. He pointed out: “We asked for a meeting with Sporle Parish Council to answer their concerns but their position has been a flat rejection.

“Building a wind farm is not an unreasonable thing to do but he (Mr Hickey) has got so hot under the collar you would think we were talking about building a concentration camp.”

He said Ecotricity had been talking with SPA, “but we have made no offer and not mentioned that amount, so it’s been made up by him or whoever”.

Mrs Clements said: “I don’t know where this figure has come from either… I’m surprised that Martin has put such a figure in print.”