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Opposition builds to wind turbine appeal

Plans to build wind turbines on a farm have been opposed by Britain’s oldest conservation body which says the development would “cut a swathe” through a scenic stretch of the Waveney Valley.

The Open Spaces Society has objected to an appeal made by Stamford Renewables Ltd, against Waveney District Council’s refusal of planning permission for wind turbines at Laurels Farm in Barsham, near Beccles.

It argues that the development would result in the widening and destruction roads in the area, inand would also be an eyesore for walkers and riders.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: “In order to bring the turbine components to the site, Stamford Renewables intend to bulldoze away part of Clarke’s Lane, uprooting trees and cutting a swathe through this intimate, sensitive landscape.

“This lovely lane, which is used by walkers, horse-riders and cyclists, as well as motorists, is part of the local history.

“Once erected, the turbines would be an intrusion when seen from what remains of this common, as well as from other land where the public has the right to walk.”

Stamford Renewables requested that the appeal be dealt with by written representations, a move it says will save costs, time and tax-payers’ money.

But Philip Johnson, from residents’ group HALT, which was formed to fight the plans, said the “full transparency” of a public inquiry was needed.

Mike Stamford, chief executive of Stamford Renewables, said it was irresponsible to call for an “expensive and time-consuming” public inquiry and added: “We have listened carefully to the views of the local community, especially the 25 per cent of residents living within 1.5 km of Laurels Farm who wrote in and objected in 2010.”

Plans for the wind turbine development have proved controversial and last October more than 100 people attended an extraordinary meeting of Waveney District Council’s development control committee at Beccles Public Hall to hear a decision on the plans.

At that time Stamford Renewables was seeking planning permission to build three groups of three turbines at Devonshire Farm and Granary Farm, in Ringsfield, and Laurels Farm, Barsham. After a lengthy meeting all three applications were refused.

At a Waveney District Council development control committee meeting on Tuesday, members agreed to officer recommendations regarding defending the appeal. The recommendations were accepted as written and the Broads Authority had in the meantime confirmed its objections.