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Residents’ calls for poll over Bodham turbine would “break” village

Angry residents keen to hold a poll over controversial plans to build a wind turbine in Bodham were warned the move could “break” the village and “bankrupt” the parish council.

Those against the proposals for a solitary turbine to be built on land at Pond Farm called for a poll to be held during a heated public meeting tonight.

But their requests were slammed by chairman Harry Bruford who said if a poll was held it “may well break the parish council”.

Directly addressing those asking for the vote he added: “(It would) probably bankrupt the parish council. You don’t care do you?

“They had a poll in Holt for three new members of the parish council and it cost £1,700. We have not got that sort of money and you know it.”

More than 60 people crammed into the village hall to have their say about the plans, which have divided opinion in and around Bodham.

Objectors reiterated their argument the turbine – proposed by family-run Genatec – would devalue their homes, ruin the landscape and cause a noise nuisance. They also questioned the need for such a structure to be built on land when there are so many going up off shore.

Will Beeson, from Hart Lane, Bodham, said: “The coast off East Anglia – our coast – is the biggest provider of wind energy. I don’t think anybody here today, if they’re against this wind turbine, should feel any guilt at all.

“Wind power for future generations is happening and it’s happening in a major way.”

But those supporting the plans were also keen to get their point across and argued there was no evidence for many of the opposing party’s objections.

Harriet Campbell, who runs Bodham’s Post Office, challenged the objectors to come up with an alternative to wind farms.

“Give me another solution because it’s not viable that we all have solar panels,” she added. “It’s all very well people saying they don’t want it in their back yard but in 20 years time we’re going to be in a real situation and held ransom by the middle east and Russia.”

The discussion became heated as the subject of the poll resurfaced, causing Mr Bruford to shout down objector David Ramsbotham, who has led the against campaign.

But as the crowd began to talk over one another Mr Bruford abruptly called the meeting to a close, 45 minutes after it started.

It was resolved afterwards that the parish council would look into organising the poll, which clerk Barbara Emery said would be conducted by North Norfolk District Council but paid for by the parish authority.

Speaking afterwards David Mack, Genatec director, said: “I completely understand peoples’ concerns but I urge them (to remember) that we have done a huge amount of work and research into the effects of this and they have concluded there will be no adverse effects on the community or wildlife.”