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Hempnall windfarm plan thumbs down

A controversial application to build a windfarm in the south Norfolk village of Hempnall has been tipped for refusal.

Planning officers at South Norfolk Council have recommended that plans by renewable power company Enertrag UK to build seven 125m high turbines on land at Bussey’s Loke should be turned down.

There has been widespread local opposition to the scheme and the recommendation is being welcomed by local people.

Michael Windridge, district councillor for Hempnall, who has been a leading campaigner against the scheme, said: “This is really encouraging news for everyone who attaches great value to safeguarding the south Norfolk landscape and the precious unspoilt countryside surrounding the proposed development areas.”

The scheme is being tipped for refusal on grounds that it would be detrimental to the character of the area and visual amenity, impact on listed buildings, insufficient visibility at the junction of the B1332/B1527, impact on Norwich Airport and because it is contrary to policies.

The district council has received objections from Hempnall, Saxlingham, Shotesham and Woodton parish councils and recommendations of refusal from Topcroft and Tasburgh parish councils.

Norwich Airport has objected to the scheme on the grounds that it conflicts with national and international safeguarding requirements and presents a hazard to the safe operation of aircraft in the vicinity of the airport.

Norfolk County Council’s highways department has objected on the grounds that the junction of the B1332/B1527 has insufficient visibility for routing and access of construction traffic.

Other objections include those from the Campaign to Protect Rural England and local protest group Showt (Stop Hempnall’s Onshore Wind Turbines). The group’s concerns include that the development would intrude unacceptably on the landscape, conservation areas and a large number of properties, lead to the loss of local landscape character and have an adverse impact on visual amenity.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon and county councillor Adrian Gunson have also objected to the scheme.

The district council has received 606 letters of objection from concerned local residents and 62 letters in support of the scheme.

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has written in support of the scheme which it says will make a useful contribution towards the region’s very challenging renewable energy targets.

A planning report states that the majority of objections received highlight the visual intrusion of the turbines and the effect they would have on the character of the immediate area of countryside.

The scheme is due to be discussed at a meeting of the district council’s south west area planning committee on Tuesday August 5.

Emily Dennis

Eastern Daily Press

30 July 2008