Villagers opposed to controversial plans for 26 wind turbines at Congham are to set up an action group following a well-attended public meeting this week.
More than 250 people from Congham and surrounding villages crammed into the meeting at Grimston church on Monday to find out more about the scheme and its potential impact on communities.
Jeff Compton, chairman of Congham Parish Council, which organised the meeting, believes not one person at the event approved of the plans.
“We had tried to find one person to talk at the meeting who was in favour to keep it balanced, but we couldn’t find anyone,” he said afterwards.
Residents from Congham, Hillington, Harpley, Grimston, Pott Row, Roydon, the Massinghams and Flitcham attended the event, which was moved from its original smaller venue because of an overwhelming demand from people wanting to go.
An action group to formally oppose the plans will now be set up, and villagers interested in joining put their names forward for consideration. The group will be formed at another meeting to be organised by the parish council in the coming weeks.
Mr Compton said although no planning application has yet been submitted, forming a group now means villagers will be fully prepared once it is.
“The hard graft starts here,” he said. “It’s us against a large organisation with lots of power and experience.
“We need an action group which is committed and motivated to keep up the opposition, however long it takes.”
The company behind the scheme is international renewable energy operator Iberdrola, of Spain, and UK-based Hyder Consulting is preparing an environmental report.
The proposed turbines, earmarked for farmland between Congham and Little Massingham, could have 67-metre (220ft) towers ““ three times higher than Grimston church tower ““ and measure 110 metres to the tip of the rotor blades.
Congham resident Robin Timms spoke at the meeting about the implications of the turbines and Lincolnshire couple Jane and Julian Davis told how a wind farm less than a kilometre from their home has ruined their family’s life. County councillor for the area, Mrs Janice Eells, also gave her views.
North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, whose own home is close to the proposed site, sent apologies for his absence from the meeting.
In a letter, read out to the meeting, he said he was not against onshore wind turbines and believed if the plan was for two or three turbines it may be viewed in a different light.
He said 26 turbines were unnecessary, would have a “totally devastating impact” on the environment and transform West Norfolk’s landscape.
19 March 2007
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