Wind turbine protesters who thought they had won a battle to stop a development in Hempnall now look as if they need to renew their energy for a fresh battle.
Victory was claimed only 13 months ago when a planning inspector upheld a district council decision in 2008 to turn down plans for a cluster of seven wind turbines.
But now original developer, the Diss-based Enertrag company, has announced scaled down plans for a four-turbine scheme in Bussey’s Lane, creating enough energy to power 4,413 homes from masts which will reach 126m into the sky.
It has already launched a website to explain its case and next Friday, January 21, from 3pm to 8pm, is inviting residents to Hampnall village hall to find out more and give their opinions.
The fresh proposal, to be called Streetwood Wind Farm, has already brought a sharp rebuke from Geoff Moulton, chairman of the first protest group create, SHOWT – Stop Hempnall Onshore Wind Turbines.
He said supporters would be encouraged to attend the consultation, but said plans for a formal protest would come later.
He said the new application would waste public money. “They claimed to listen to the views of residents. Don’t they understand what ‘No Thanks’ means?” said Mr Moulton.
And he was critical that Enertrag was offering £16,000 a year for community schemes. He said the sum was too small if split among different groups and likened it to “a bung”.
Mr Chris Bailey, a project manager with Enertrag, which has a staff of six at its offices at Diss Business Park, said it was a local business and even had one of its staff who lived in Hempnall.
He said that it would not submit a planning application until it had gauged public opinion, but hoped it would be in the first half of this year, but was unable to be specific about any start date for the multi-million pound scheme.
He stressed that the firm had taken into account the planning inspector’s stated view that Hempnall did have capacity for a wind turbine development, had nearly halved its original plans and resited some masts so that the nearest was some 740 metres away from a home, comfortably outside any potential noise problems.
And he denied the £16,000 community funding concept was a “bung”, stressing it was available for community projects, groups etc and that parish councils would have a say on where the money went.
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