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No plans for wind farm public meeting  

The chairman of a parish council in a village which is divided over plans to build a wind turbine farm, has said there are no plans at this stage for a public meeting to discuss it.

Angry villagers are calling for a public meeting about controversial plans for a wind farm in Marshland St James. Residents are divided over the plans to site wind turbines on farmland near the village.

Members of the Fenland Landscape Against Turbines (FLAT) action group set up to fight the proposed farm have accused the parish council of ignoring the wishes of the residents by failing to call a public meeting.

However the newly elected chairman, Jack Bantoft, a former borough councillor, said: “In relation to having a public meeting, because the old proposal has fallen by the wayside, there is no new one and there is no planning application.

“It is difficult to know what the parish council can usefully do at this stage.

“It is my intention that if a planning application is submitted during my tenure, I shall immediately calls a meeting that I hope will allow itself to be addressed in a sensible way by the applicants, objectors and borough planners.”

He added: “For that reason, and that reason alone, I shall resist having a public meeting prematurely and nailing our colours to one mast or the other.

“When the time comes to consider a planning application, it will do no good for the parish council to have already taken sides.”

Cllr Bantoft made the comments after recent parish council meeting in which a number of protestors and residents attended, and there were again calls for a public meeting.

He added: “I did explain to the meeting that we accepted that the issue is important, but important is not the same as urgent.”

The potential wind farm has caused turmoil in the village, tragically earlier this year a member of the consortium was found dead in a fen drain.

Police believe there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and an inquest has been adjourned to a fixed date.

The family of Richard Herbert, 47, said he had been worried about the industry’s future and opposition to plans to build wind turbines.

A 300ft mast put up to measure wind speeds in the area was also vandalised and the structure fell to the ground after its support wires were cut.

Villagers believed that up to 26 turbines could be built, but a spokesman said the project would be scaled down after some of the key members of the consortium left.

The chairman of FLAT, Lyndon Mason said the council had been just hiding behind procedure, but not calling a public meeting.

08 August 2007


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