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Unity Wind withdraws North Walsham community turbine plan blaming ‘abuse and intimidation’

A controversial application for a 120m-tall wind turbine on the edge of North Walsham has been withdrawn with supporters blaming an “unacceptable level of targeted abuse and intimidation” by opponents.

Unity Wind Ltd, through director Alicia Hull, announced “with deep regret” this afternoon that members found it impossible to proceed with their application to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) for a community turbine on farmland east of Cromer Road.

The not-for-profit group claimed the nature of some opposition, including the vandalisation of a met mast set up to monitor wind speed at the proposed site, had done a disservice to local democracy. The group also accused a “few people” of resorting to personal bullying.

Unity Wind, committed to combating climate change for the sake of future generations, had invited people to become shareholders in the project, investing from £1 up to £20,000, and had pledged that £10,000 a year would be ploughed back into community causes.

But the majority of around 200 people who packed a public meeting on the bid last month was strongly against the scheme claiming the turbine would dwarf the town, create noise nuisance and devalue properties.

It emerged at the end of the meeting that NNDC had asked for the application to be withdrawn because of objections, on the grounds of air safety, from Norwich Airport, the National Air Traffic Services, and the MoD, in relation to the RAF radar at Trimingham,

Unity Wind said today it believed the problems could have been resolved either for the proposed turbine, or a smaller model. “If we have had any failings it’s because we didn’t have the resources of a big company,” its statement said.

Another application for a wind turbine was being considered, and more would be proposed in the future.

Jon Witte, whose Bradfield home was among those nearest the proposed site, spoke for opponents at the public meeting. Today he accused Unity Wind of “throwing a lot of accusations around” without foundation.

Mr Witte added: “We have always tried to play by the book and do not condone, in any way, any kind of intimidation. I have no knowledge of any behaviour of that kind.”

Unity Wind was trying to dodge the real issue which was that it had not done its homework and realised that the turbine would never have been acceptable on air-safety grounds.

It had also previously admitted that residents had not been effectively consulted about the scheme before the application was made.