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Fears over wind mast plan in Stoke By Clare

Preservation societies have added their voice to objections to a 80m high wind mast being put up in Stoke By Clare.

South Suffolk Wind Energy has applied for a temporary mast at Canhams Farm, Maple Hill, which will measure wind speed and direction to see if the site is suitable for a wind farm.

The development control committee at St Edmundsbury Borough Council is due to decide on the application today (1), with officers recommending approval.

But a large number of conservation and preservation bodies have joined parish councils in raising objections against the plans.

The Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project backs renewable energy said the scale of the mast and the sensitive nature of the site, made it unsuitable.

And The Suffolk Preservation Society said: “The society has significant concerns regarding the principle of industrially scaled turbines in this elevated prominent site that is of great contextual significance to the Stour Valley Project Area.”

Objections were also raised by the Colne-Stour Countryside Association who said: “This part of the upper Stour Valley is both historically and culturally important and it deserves to be protected.”

Clare Parish Council said there is already a wind monitoring mast nearby at Leys Farm in Hundon.

“This mast already dominates a rural landscape, being clearly visible from great distances, and a second taller mast would be an additional visual intrusion.”

It also said that the mast may be a danger to bats and birds as well as light aircraft and low flying Apache helicopters on training exercises out of Wattisham Airfield.

Noise from future wind turbines at the site could keep residents awake, Kedington Parish Council says, while Ashen Parish Council is amongst several other councils that object.

“The mast would be widely seen and would dominate what is (with the exception of the other temporary mast) effectively unspoilt historic landscape, breaking the skyline and jarring with the natural grain and integrity of its context,” it said.

It added that it would be ‘highly damaging to the special landscape.’

The Clare Tourism Forum, Clare Society, the Stop Turbines Over Clare group and neighbours also object.

“The Stour Valley is at risk from two wind farm developments and this would change the valley which would be destroyed forever,” said one neighbour, while another claimed it would have a ‘devastating effect’ on trade in Clare.

Planning officers say approval would be for a temporary mast only and any subsequent wind farm plans would have to be decided on its own merits.

They added that the mast would be slim to minimise visual impact, that bird scaring devices can be used alongside a light on top of the mast to make it visible to aircraft.