More than three quarters of Marshland St James residents who voted in a parish poll are against wind turbines in their area.
Just under half of the 962 registered voters took part in Thursday’s poll, which was demanded by parishioners at a meeting last month.
It asked residents whether they wanted wind turbines on land within or surrounding their parish and out of 442 votes cast, 341 said no, while 101 said yes.
But in the latest twist, both sides in the debate are claiming victory.
Anger from some quarters greeted the news that as many as 26 wind turbines could be built in the village and an anti-turbine protest group, Fenland Landscapes Against Turbines (FLAT) was formed to fight the proposal last year.
Crowds of people attended a series of packed public meetings held to discuss the issue and feelings have been running high in the village since the plans first came to light in April.
West Norfolk councillor, David Markinson, said: “Local people feel that for far too long this proposal has been kept under wraps and I am sad to say that, to date, there has still not been anything by way of public consultation either from the parish council or the developers involved.
“A project of this scale requires early discussion in order to get things into the open and publicly aired, but for some reason this has not taken place.
“This poll should have been organised by the parish council as it has been in other areas, but in this instance that was not going to happen which is why concerned villagers took it upon themselves to engage in the process in the interests of democracy and to see fair play.”
A spokesman for the land owners’ consortium said it was “greatly encouraged” by the results.
He went on: “There are 456 households which are eligible to vote in this poll and there were 936 people who registered to vote.
“It must be considered that those who do not turn up to vote have no concerns about the construction of wind turbines, therefore with a 47.2 per cent turnout at the poll we must assume that 52.8 per cent people do not have vehement objections to wind turbines.”
Mr Jack Bantoft, chairman of Marshland St James Parish Council, said: “If the parish council is asked to consider a planning application for wind turbines, the result of the parish poll is one of the factors we shall take into account.”
By Daisy Wallage
16 October 2007
Fenland Landscape Against Turbines (FLAT): flat-group.co.uk
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