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Huntingdon charity under fire for wind farm plan  

Norfolk villagers are furious about what they expect will be an application for a six-turbine wind farm on land owned by Huntingdon Freemen’s Charity.

The charity, which owns the town’s commons, says its constitution demands that it maximises its income for the benefit of the people of Huntingdon.

But villagers in Tivetshall St Mary (population 300), in south Norfolk between Diss and Norwich, say the six 125-metre turbines for which they expect a planning application from Enertrag UK Limited will ruin cherished countryside and offer no benefit to the village.

“I wonder how the residents of Huntingdon would feel if they knew that their new leisure facilities or any other beneficial act that the trustees donated was at inconvenience to a small village in Norfolk, which have to endure the noise and vibration while the turbines are being erected, then noise and the strobing effect once they are operational,” Claire Kirby, a member of the village action group, told The Hunts Post.

“It is hard to believe that the trustees of a charity would countenance such an act.”

Mrs Kirby, who believes the charity stands to benefit to the tune of millions of pounds over 25 years, has told the trustees: “If your charity is in agreement with wind turbines, surely the residents of Huntingdon should have the inconvenience of having turbines erected and working, as they will be receiving the benefits of the substantial profits.

“Instead, you have purchased land surrounding a very small village in Norfolk – land that is deemed of outstanding natural beauty, with much natural flora and fauna and archaeological interest.

“If the scheme is allowed, it will give no benefit to the residents of Tivetshall whatever, and will blight our lives considerably, added to which there will be a considerable reduction in the value of our homes.”

Her husband Eric said not a single voice had been raised in support of the scheme at a public meeting attended by 140 people to discuss it.

He added that South Norfolk District Council was due to determine an application to put an anemometer and a 60-metre mast on the farm owned by the charity at a meeting on April 22. “It’s an area that’s very attractive to local people,” he added.

David Kerr, the charity’s clerk and manager, confirmed that it was aware of Enertrag’s planning application, but declined to disclose details of the contractual relationship with the company.

“The trustees are obliged to consider any use of their assets that would increase income to the benefit of the residents of Huntingdon.”

He said the Freemen had bought the land as an investment in the 1980s, before the present charity was formed in 1993 after a battle of proposed development at Spring Common. The development was a matter for the developers, and any objections were for the planning authority.

The charity owns the town’s commons, “which the trustees are very firmly committed to not developing”, Mr Kerr said. It also owns other tracts of land outside the town, such as in Godmanchester, but nothing of the size of the Tivetshall farm, which is its only land-holding outside Cambridgeshire, he added.

The Hunts Post

26 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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