An action group was launched last night to fight controversial proposals to build seven 125ft high wind turbines on the former Pulham Airfield site.
Hundreds of residents packed into Dickleburgh for a public meeting called by the parish council to learn more about the proposal, with dozens more left standing outside. And there was fierce criticism that developer, Lowestoft-based SLP Energy had declined an invitation to attend.
The company has also been accused of trying to “sneak” through a planning application for a wind-measuring mast – to establish whether the site is suitable to generate renewable power – while many local residents are on their summer holidays.
Five of the turbines would be in the parish of Dickleburgh and Rushall, and one each in Pulham Market and Pulham St Mary, with objectors claiming all four villages would fall within the 2km “blight zone”.
Author Terence Blacker, who opposes the scheme, told the gathering: “I hope we will all stand up to this and not betray our community.
“I am haunted by the number of people who have said ‘I thought it was going to be all right, I believed what the developers told me (about wind farms). People say their lives are ruined, that it is hell. The absent landowners and SLP are not in this for the love of the planet. Getting on for £2m a year in subsidies will go into that site.”
His comments were greeted with loud applause.
Local district councillor, Martin Wilby, also voiced concerns.
“I find it very sad that SLP haven’t bothered to talk to the residents. This massive proposal for seven wind turbines is about our countryside, where we live. It’s about the physical impact and the health impact, and I shall also be opposing the mast.”
Former Cabinet minister and South Norfolk MP, Lord MacGregor, was unable to attend the meeting.
But he told the EDP, that he is concerned that consultations on the planning application will be held in August which was the “worst possible” time.
“I have always taken the view that the best place for wind turbines is off shore,” he maintained.
Objector Graham King, whose house in Pulham St Mary is near the site, has urged South Norfolk council to reject the mast.
“There is already a scoping opinion for the construction of seven 125m high wind turbines in the public consultation phase. To even consider this planning application before all the vital questions that have arisen since this process began would be complete madness,” he said.
“It is also despicable that a planning application such as this should be sneaked through in a blatant attempt to keep public objections to a minimum in full knowledge that this is the main holiday period.”
SLP declined the invitation to the meeting as proposals are at an early stage. It will be holding a public exhibition if it decides to seek planning consent for the turbines.
However, company spokesman Kerry Bradfield has refuted claims that they were being sneaky. She said the scoping request was submitted on June 15, and the mast application on June 20.
“It is up to the district council how quickly they register it. It is out of our control,” she stressed.
By Celia Wigg
26 July 2007
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