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MP told ‘Turbines will damage our village’

Campaigners took their MP on a tour of their Norfolk village yesterday to show the damaging impact they believe two proposed 125m wind turbines will have on it.

Bernard Matthews has submitted the plans for the former USAF airfield at Weston Longville as part of a £20m investment in green energy.

Villagers have reacted angrily to the proposals and have formed an action group to fight them.

But Bernard Matthews insists any “minor” adverse effects on landscape would be outweighed by its benefits.

Yesterday MP Keith Simpson took a tour of Weston Longville to see the areas which will be most affected.

Beginning at the site of Parson Woodforde’s old rectory, Anna Stevenson, who insisted the campaigners were not “nimbys”, said the 410ft turbines would damage views from the property.

Next the MP, and military historian, was told about the heritage of the airfield which villagers fear will be destroyed by the turbines.

Keen historian John Staveley said: “It’s the most complete of the second division airfields left. For 324 men, that runway is the last spot they ever stood on earth. They flew out of there and were killed.”

The campaigners, which include Hockering parish councillor Richard Hawker, admitted not all villagers felt the same as them, but they believe many do not appreciate just how big the turbines will be.

At Weston Longville church, Mr Simpson heard the structures would be nine times its height.

Rev Selwyn Tillett said: “For centuries the church has been the tallest building in the village and the heart of the community. The view most people link with the village is the church and the memorial as a backdrop – it’s hard to imagine it with the turbines.”

Noise, traffic, health implications and the affect the development would have on house prices were also discussed during the visit.

Mr Simpson said fighting plans like this were always difficult for small communities. He said: “Whatever the rights and wrongs, when you get developments like this, if it’s a sparse population, they will not have the money to challenge it.”

The turbines would have a lifespan of 25 years – after which Bernard Matthews says the landscape would return to its present character – and would generate 25pc of the energy consumed by the business.

A spokesman for the company said: “To date the company has supplied leaflets explaining the key features of the project and a public exhibition, allowing residents to ask questions about the development, clarifying the details and facts of the proposal.

“The company also organised a residents’ visit to see comparable turbines operating at North Pickenham and to get first hand experience of their size, low noise etc.

Comments on the proposals to Broadland council must be received by November 12.