A residents’ group is urging Yarmouth Borough Council to “put an end to nearly a decade of blight” and refuse renewal of planning permission for four giant wind turbines on the town’s South Denes peninsula.
Ecotricity – the firm responsible for turbines at Swaffham and Somerton, near Yarmouth – first won approval for the 220ft turbines in 2000 after an appeal to the Secretary of State.
The council renewed planning permission for three years in 2005 despite widespread protests and now the Gloucester-based firm is seeking a further three years to carry out its scheme.
Norman Ward, a spokesman for the Gorleston community group Start, said: “When the inspector granted permission in 2000 one of the conditions was that the firm should make some progress within five years.
“They have already had one extension and we are urging the council to say no more and to put an end to nearly a decade of blight affecting the area.”
He stressed that when the inspector made his decision in 2000 South Denes was a largely derelict area – now the outer harbour was being built there and it was possible it would also become the site of Yarmouth’s large casino complex.
“All these developments would be in the shadow of these turbines. The world has moved on in eight years,” he said.
Gorleston on Sea Heritage Group is also renewing its objections to the scheme pressing the council to refuse renewal of planning permission on the grounds of the lack of progress in eight years.
Its spokesman Tom Harrison said residents on both the Yarmouth and Gorleston sides of the River Yare were concerned by the possible impact of turbine flicker and noise – some riverside properties in Gorleston would be little more than 300 yards from the turbines.
He said: “I have heard stories of people having to stop walking their dogs on Pakefield cliffs because the flicker from the Lowestoft turbine has upset their pets. It is not right people’s lives are disrupted.”
EastPort chief executive Eddie Freeman confirmed they would be objecting to the scheme as they feared the turbines might hinder operations, while council head of planning Peter Warner said officers would look closely at the application, focusing on the impact of the outer harbour.
No one at Ecotricity was available for comment yesterday but in 2005 the company said all the issues of concern had been thoroughly explored at the time of the original application in 2000, and that wind turbines were good neighbours if designed properly.
By Stephen Pullinger
25 March 2008
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