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Levington: Turbines given go-ahead at beauty spot

Villagers have been left disappointed today after controversial proposals for two wind turbines in a designated beauty spot were narrowly approved.

Despite more than 80 per cent of the population of Levington being against the project, Suffolk Coastal councillors gave it the go-ahead – but only by four votes to three.

Objectors said the turbines – 21 metres and 26m high on land at Levington Hall – would be a “deplorable visual intrusion” in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as well as being noisy, and causing shadow flicker when the sunlight reflects on them.

Councillors and their planning officers though felt the turbines would have little impact on the AONB and would be hidden by trees from many public viewpoints.

The turbines will be on land owned by Dame Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson PLC, and her Pulitzer prize-winning journalist husband Albert, to reduce their country estate’s reliance for energy on fossil fuels.

Levington Parish Council chairman David Long told the south area development control sub committee the proposals contravened planning policies which said “great weight” should be given to protecting AONBs.

“It will be a deplorable visual intrusion and blight many residents,” he said.

Councillor Patricia O’Brien said: “If we don’t recognise the importance of an AONB, how are we going to protect our green and pleasant land?”

Andy Smith, cabinet member for planning, said he had every sympathy for the villagers but no one factor was unreasonably intrusive and the scale, volume and frequency of the feared effects were not sufficiently significant to warrant refusal.