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Turbine backed despite villagers' fears 

Granting consent for a wind turbine in a chocolate box hamlet could open the floodgates for similar developments across rural Suffolk, a parish council has claimed.

Mid Suffolk District Council has given the go-ahead for a nine-metre turbine to generate renewable energy at the Willows, Dublin Road, Occold, despite strong objections from parish councillors who unanimously recommended refusal.

They say the structure will ruin an unspoilt part of the village and query whether the decision was influenced by the planning committee’s desire to demonstrate its “green credentials”.

Kevin Chittock, parish council chairman, said: “We are not against wind turbines, and we don’t want to appear anti-green, but we just think this is totally the wrong place.

“Dublin is an ideal chocolate box hamlet with six or seven cottages that are only 20ft high, and the mast is going to be approaching 40ft with a massive concrete base. It is a vast structure. We feel there is no regress and we are being ignored.”

“Occold Parish Council is concerned this decision may lead to future applications for domestic wind turbines being granted permission with little consideration of their merits, or the evidence of viability or ecological improvement. This could open the door to an ugly mechanical forest springing up almost anywhere in the rural heart of Suffolk.”

Philip Isbell, planning control lead officer, said the authority is seeing a number of proposals for domestic wind turbines in private gardens come forward, adding “they are proving to be locally controversial”.

The council had rejected plans for a 15m mast in a garden of a listed barn at Mendlesham, but this was allowed on appeal.

However, planning officers took the view that the Occold scheme would be acceptable subject to conditions, including a requirement that the turbine be removed when it is no longer required for energy generation.

Meanwhile an application for a domestic 15m turbine in the back garden of a house at Weybread, recommended for refusal on January 24, has yet to be determined.

“The application provoked considerable committee discussion and members decided to report the matter to the council’s main referrals committee, as the application raised district-wide policy questions,” said Mr Isbell.


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