Developers have vowed to press ahead with a wind farm despite protests which drove a farmer to take his own life.
Marshland Wind Farm wants to build 19 turbines on low-lying farmland between Marshland St James and Outwell.
It is putting its plans out to consultation at a series of public exhibitions next week, before a planning application is submitted to West Norfolk Council.
Last night, it released an artist’s impression showing the view from Marshland St James if the scheme gets the go-ahead.
“There will be many more photomontages, maps and environmental documents so local people can gauge exactly what the turbines look like, where they will be and whether they will be able to see them or not in the distance from their homes,” said a spokesman.
“This is an opportunity to find out exactly what is going to be proposed. It is also an opportunity to meet all of the people who have carefully brought the plans forward and who can answer your questions accurately and honestly.
“We feel confident that these photomontages and additional facts will help settle down and perhaps question some of the exaggerated, damaging and upsetting information which has been circulated.”
Feelings have been running high in Marshland and its surrounding villages since plans for the wind farm were first revealed by a consortium of farmers early last year.
In May, father-of-three Richard Herbert, 47, who was part of the consortium, drowned himself in the Middle Level Drain.
An inquest recorded a verdict of suicide after hearing he had no history of mental illness but had become anxious and depressed as protests mounted.
Hundreds had attended a public meeting just weeks before his death, a test mast put up to check wind speeds in the area had been destroyed and Mr Herbert and other farmers had been sent letters threatening them with legal action.
Last night, David McGuffog, of protest group Flat (Fenland Landscape Against Turbines), said members would be attending the public meetings.
But he told the EDP: “There will be no trouble from members of our group. There was no trouble at the other meetings, it just got a bit heated. Richard was a friend of ours and it was absolutely heartbreaking.”
Developers say surrounding villages could receive a windfall of up to £500,000 to improve community facilities if the plans get the go-ahead.
West Norfolk Council’s develop-ment control board will decide whether the wind farm gets the go-ahead. At a meeting yesterday, neighbouring Fenland District Coun-cil heard new government guidelines said councils should view renewable energy schemes “sympathetically”.
Deputy leader Fred Yeulett told councillors: “Failure to do so exposes the council to a planning appeal and all the costs of that appeal.”
Last night it emerged planning officials had recommended approval for seven turbines alongside the eight already at Coldham, near Wisbech.
A report said the landscape could comfortably absorb more turbines without its character being affected.
Public consultation events for the Marshland scheme are:
Monday, March 10, 4pm-9pm at Outwell Village Hall;
Tuesday, March 11, 4pm-9pm at Emneth Village Hall;
Friday, March 14, 4pm-9pm at Marshland St James Village Hall.
From Monday, March 17, the plans will go on show in the foyer of RJ Herbert in Middle Drove, Marshland St James, for one week.
6 March 2008
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