Villagers living close to the site of Suffolk’s first onshore wind farm are seeking a judicial review over the council’s handling of the project, it has emerged.
Legal documents have been submitted to the High Court in London by residents living in Parham, near Framlingham, in a last-ditch attempt to reverse Suffolk Coastal District Council’s decision to approve the project.
Six wind turbines, which will stand almost 100m tall, will be built on Parham airfield and part of a 310-hectare farm in the parishes of Parham, Great Glemham and Marlesford.
The project was originally given the go-ahead by planners in July 2006 following strong opposition from local villagers but in recent months developer Your Energy has asked for a modification of the plans, which would have involved longer blades on the turbines.
But in November last year Suffolk Coastal District said the revised plan had been dropped and the development would go ahead. Work is due to start this year on the turbines.
Residents are now hoping to quash the decision under one of the conditions of the planning permission.
They claim the council acted irrationally in approving the application without consulting local residents’ organisation, No Windfarm at Parham (NOWAP), or the parish councils of Parham, Great Glemham, Marlesford or the public.
They also claim the application for approval of precise details fell outside the planning permission as it altered the originally approved plans by increasing hub height by four meters, reducing blade length by 4.5metres and greatly reducing energy output – while leaving the environmental impact “uncertain or substantially similar”.
Dr John Constable, chairman of NOWAP, said: “Local residents have been persistently frustrated by council’s inadequate level of consultation.
“The astonishingly secretive manner in which the new consent for the E53 turbines was issued was the last straw.
“We have no option but to seek redress at the High Court, and have every expectation of success.”
Cllr Ivan Jowers, chairman of the development control committee at Suffolk Coastal, said it now faced spending more council taxpayers’ money defending a decision which is said was “fairly and democratically reached”.
“There were over 700 responses to the original application. More recently, the developers had sought the go-ahead for a modification of the original permission. This would have seen six turbines at the same height but with longer blades. A further site visit and more discussions were undertaken, and subsequently this plan was dropped.
“The development will now proceed with the approved turbines that will be just under 100 metres high to the tip but with shorter 26.5 metre long blades on a 73.25 metre high tower. These meet all the conditions originally imposed by the council, and indeed there will be less shadow flicker.
“We had hoped that our announcement in November would have brought an end to all the uncertainty but we are now faced with having to spend more Council Taxpayers money defending a decision that was fairly and democratically reached. It will now be a matter for the High Court to rule upon.”
By Danielle Nuttall
13 February 2008
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