Developers behind controversial plans to build a wind farm in The Fens have held secret talks with parish councillors amid fears a public meeting could have been disrupted by violence.
Security guards patrolled the grounds of the Jubilee Hall in Marshland St James during last week’s meeting, where access was under strict control and police officers were present throughout.
The meeting was held so representatives from parish councils in Marshland St James, Emneth and Tilney St Lawrence could all discuss the plans.
The extraordinary security measures were in response to earlier incidents including arson, vandalism and threats of physical violence.
However, residents will be given the chance to voice their opinions as details of two new public exhibitions are due to be announced shortly after an open meeting last month had to be cancelled following further threats of violence.
Bruce Pittingale of Marshland Wind Farm said: “We are keen to obtain the views of local people and to reflect these in the proposals which we put forward.
“We very much regretted having to cancel the public exhibition at Marshland St James, the village right at the heart of the proposed development, but the very explicit threats of violence which we received meant we could not guarantee the safety either of our own staff or of the public visiting the exhibition.
“We were delighted to be able to inform the parish councillors last week of the proposal and to answer their questions.
“We are also very pleased to be able to respond positively to their requests for us to schedule exhibitions in the two villages where our earlier plans for such events had to be cancelled. We will be working closely with the police about arrangements for security at these events, as we were forced to do for the meeting
with the parish councillors.”
On hearing news of the secret meeting Cllr David Markinson, who represents Marshland St James on West Norfolk Council, said: “Frankly I am appalled that not only have the developers decided to start holding secret talks blocked from the public but they have also decided the council’s elected representatives should be kept out as well.
“There has been no proper consultation process and I am afraid secret meetings behind closed doors with security teams on patrol preventing public access to information about this proposal is no way to conduct affairs such as this.”
l Fenland Landscape Against Turbines (FLAT) will be holding a fundraising auction at the Jubilee Hall, Marshland St James, from 7pm tomorrow.
All proceeds from the event will go to FLAT and anyone wishing to donate lots for the auction should call 07789 524850 as soon as possible.
11 April 2008
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