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Campaigners in Weston Longville could take their wind turbine battle to the High Court  

Credit:  By Daisy Wallage, Eastern Daily Press, www.edp24.co.uk 2 February 2012 ~~

Campaigners fighting plans for two wind turbines near Dereham could take their battle to the High Court.

The Anti-Turbine Action Group (ATAG) was formed when Bernard Matthews applied to build the 125m turbines on the former USAF airfield at Weston Longville in 2010.

The project was refused planning permission by Broadland District Council amid widespread local opposition in January last year.

But the turkey giant’s eleventh hour appeal was successful and the government’s planning inspector overturned the council’s decision earlier this month.

ATAG chairman Peter Ross said it had been a “black day for local democracy” and the process had made a mockery of the coalition’s localism bill, which seeks to hand power back to communities.

The ten-strong committee, which met on Monday, is now taking legal advice with a view to challenging the inspector’s decision at London’s High Court.

“The inspector, a stranger to the area, has made an entirely subjective but binding judgement about what is and is not an acceptable impact on our landscape, our quality of life and our properties,” Mr Ross said.

“There is no redress except by a legal challenge through the High Court, a potentially expensive exercise. If the challenge is successful another hearing will be held taking account of the grounds on which the successful challenge was based.

“How could anyone condone blighting our beloved, rural, “big skies” landscape with massive 125m high industrial structures which are some 30m taller than the spire of Norwich Cathedral and have a rotational diameter longer than a jumbo jet?

“In our opinion, shared and endorsed by our elected district planning committee, it will ruin the beauty of this countryside and make the area a much less pleasant place to live, more especially for those whose homes will be affected, a number of which are only some 500 to 600m from the turbines.”

Broadland rejected the proposals – against officers’ recommendations – because of the scale of the turbines and their impact on the surrounding landscape.

Mr Ross said the ATAG committee was angry that an outside body could overturn the decision, despite opposition from residents and councillors at parish, district and county level.

“Why bother to ask local communities to make planning decisions when big government will overturn them if it doesn’t like them?” he added.

Bernard Matthews claims the turbines would be capable of producing up to 7,570 megawatts of electricity a year and meet the needs of approximately 1,610 homes.

Source:  By Daisy Wallage, Eastern Daily Press, www.edp24.co.uk 2 February 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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