Campaigners against a proposed windfarm near Syderstone are celebrating after West Norfolk Council refused plans for the “first stage” of the development.
E.on UK, one of the country’s largest energy suppliers, had hoped to erect a 50- metre climate monitoring mast on farmland between the parish of Bagthorpe-with-Barmer and Syderstone, known as Chiplow.
But members of the development control board refused planning permission at a meeting on Monday after steadfast opposition from residents and parish councils in East Rudham, Stanhoe and Syderstone.
The council received 249 letters opposing the mast, many from residents who felt approving it could give the green light to plans for a five-turbine windfarm on the site.
A representative speaking on behalf on E.on Energy, told the board the company “had made no secret” of a possible windfarm at the site and wanted to stress any decision made on the mast would not affect a later application for the wind farm.
E.On had already decided to develop the site and is expected to make a full application in the autumn. The mast would help the company decide what type of windfarm would be most suited to the location in preparation for this second application.
But Syderstone Parish Council chairman Mr Gerry Taylor said the mast represented the first part of the company’s development programme and a “softening-up phase.”
The wind farm received “emphatic rejection” in a parish poll last month, which enjoyed a 48.8 percent turnout and saw 77 per cent of voters opposing the plans, he added.
Concerns over the mast’s environmental impact were also raised at the meeting. There are fears the mast would impact on local wildlife, including Pink-footed geese, but the developers had included bird deflectors in the scheme.
Councillor Hugh Symington said the mast and deflectors would have a negative impact on the appearance of the countryside.
The board voted to refuse permission and the decision was met with applause from the public area, which was crowded with opponents of the scheme.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Thompson, vice- chairman of the action group Against Turbines At Chiplow (ATAC) formed to fight the plans, said: “With more than 500 offshore turbines approved along the Norfolk coast, the county has more than met its quota for renewable energy.
“I believe tonight’s decision sends a clear message to the power companies and greedy landowners that there should be no more on- shore wind farms blighting our beautiful Norfolk countryside.”
By Daisy Wallage
7 September 2007
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