Windfarm opponents were last night hailing a first-round victory after plans for four giant turbines on the doorstep of two villages were withdrawn suddenly.
People at Ormesby and Hemsby launched fierce opposition to the scheme, which was expected to be rejected by councillors on Tuesday.
This week, Lowestoft based SLP Energy, the company behind the four proposed 125m machines, said it was withdrawing its plans for the farmland site in Ormesby Road, Hemsby but remained committed to re-submitting a revised scheme to try to overcome opposition.
The company made the move after Great Yarmouth Borough Council refused a request to delay the decision on the application.
In a statement, SLP project director Sophie Nioche said: “We are disappointed that no extension has been granted as we had intended to work with consultees to address the issues.
“Any outstanding concerns will be addressed in a revised application, which we will be resubmitting at the earliest opportunity. We still believe that this is a robust project and take this opportunity to thank all the Hemsby windfarm supporters for their continued support.”
But Ormesby with Scratby Parish Council chairman Geoff Freeman was pleased with the latest twist in the story.
He said: “I welcome the news because the development was badly thought out. When we had a public meeting we did not have anybody in support of it, and I had plenty of people write to me and phone me.”
He said people were mainly concerned about the scale of the turbines, four times higher than the church tower, but generally supported green energy and offshore windfarms.
Ormesby councillor Jim Shrimplin welcomed the news as a temporary respite. He said: “Short of making them invisible, how can you avoid the problem with the visual impact? They would be the tallest wind turbines in Norfolk.”
More than 100 villagers signed a petition opposing the turbines, which would generate enough electricity to supply annual demand for 5,500 homes for 25 years. And the Ministry of Defence warned that they would interfere with air defence radar systems at Trimingham.
The windfarm was also opposed by Natural England, the Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council on the grounds it would mar nearby conservation sites, the landscape and wildlife.
A report by planning officers to borough development control committee members concluded that the windfarm would create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions but would have “a dominating and overbearing effect”.
SLP claimed overwhelming support for the windfarm at a public exhibition at Hemsby, but opinion was decisively against at a meeting held in the village to discuss the issue in October.
By Miles Jermy
13 December 2007
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