May 23, 2008

Estate owners may take action

Bosses of a historic country estate on the outskirts of Lowestoft have spoken of their disappointment after a planning inspector ruled two giant wind turbines could be built on their doorstep.

The family owners of the Benacre estate are currently considering their options following the decision to grant permission to construct the turbines at Kessingland.

Estate representatives had strongly opposed the plans last year, claiming they would create an eyesore and have a negative impact on neighbouring land designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Members of Waveney District Council’s development control committee subsequently deferred a decision to wait for the publication of a new environmental assessment.

However, Lowestoft-based applicants SLP said the council was taking too long to make a decision and appealed to the planning inspectorate, which ruled the £4m scheme should go ahead earlier this month.

Mike Horton, agent for the Benacre Estate, said: “We are generally disappointed given the degree to which we think this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is going to be detrimentally affected. We don’t feel that Waveney District Council dragged its heels at all. It is a very complex issue and there was some guidance to which Waveney was quite close to obtaining, which wasn’t available at the first hearing. I think Waveney’s decision was perfectly legitimate. We are looking at our options.”

Mr Horton said he did not want to be seen as “sabre-rattling” by threatening a legal challenge to the planning inspector’s decision. However, guidance contained within the ruling states that the only way to overturn the decision is through a challenge in the High Court.

The turbines, which will be sited at the Africa Alive! and a site further to the west, next to the A12, will reach a height of 125m and provide power for nearly 4,000 homes.

Tony Gower, of Black Street, Gisleham, is another objector left disappointed that the project was given the go-ahead and is considering a High Court challenge.

“The decision was not made by the local authority, or with regard to planning legislation, but purely on government guidelines.

“Where does this leave democracy?” he said.

A spokesman for SLP declined to comment.

Lowestoft Journal

23 May 2008

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