The mood is one of relief for campaigners who have finally helped to see off a bid for a wind farm of three giant turbines in south Norfolk.
Three 126 metre-high turbines were planned for part of Upper Vaunces Farm, on land east of Semere Green Road, in the parishes of Dickleburgh and Pulham Market.
But the bid was thrown out this week by the planning inspector on appeal.
Planning permission was initially refused in December 2010 by South Norfolk Council.
Developer TCI Renewables, based in Oxfordshire, decided to appeal the decision, but planning inspector Zoe Hill, who presided over a lengthy and detailed inquiry, said that while planning policies weighed heavily in favour of renewable energy projects, the plans still fell down on key areas, mainly the impact on nearby homes.
Mrs Hill said there would be “serious harm to the living conditions of the occupiers of Lowbrook Farm and more limited harm to the occupiers of Seamere Cottage (Rosella) resulting from the impact on outlook and the overbearing presence of turbine T1 (the turbine nearest the properties).
“Whilst there are other matters which have been addressed here and do not weigh against the scheme, and whilst the initial balance is heavily in favour of this type of scheme, the harms identified are not and cannot be made acceptable for the development proposed.”
South Norfolk Council said it was vindicated in its decision to reject the plans.
Keith Kiddie, councillor responsible for the environment and regulation, said: “ We are very pleased that the planning inspector has recognised the important reasons why South Norfolk Council’s planning committee turned down this application for wind turbines. “It is welcome and vindicates our original decision.”
TCI Renewables had long argued that, with planning permission weighted favourably towards renewable energy, their application did not impact so greatly on its setting that this should outweigh the current planning policy.
They claimed the development would have powered 3,500 homes
The plans had been fought by campaign group 4Villages, made up of people from Dickleburgh, Rushall, Pulham Market and Pulham St Mary.
But Lucy Melrose, of the group, said it was not the time for being triumphant.
“These turbines bring a lot of anxiety to people in communities,” she said.
“This is not about victory, it is about being relieved.
“This has been fought over many years and hopefully we can start to come together as a community again.”
But South Norfolk Council stressed that this decision would not influence two other big wind farm applications in the pipeline – three turbines at Hempnall and at Tivetshall.
A spokesman said: “We make recommendations and decisions on the planning merits alone. So it would be wrong to use one particular application and read our decision on that across to others.”
South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, who has long opposed the plans for the turbines, welcomed the decision. He said: “This decision is a victory for common sense. The Inspector has clearly listened to strongly expressed local views and I am particularly pleased that she has recognised that the turbines’ impact on the gentle rural landscape in Rushall would be significant and harmful.
“St Mary’s Church in Rushall would have been overwhelmed by these turbines, and some residents would have had no escape from turbines towering over their homes.
“South Norfolk Council was right to reject these plans and the formidable 4Villages campaign group has worked extremely hard to protect local residents and see off these proposals.”
The appeal hearing ran in June last year, and resumed again in April to consider additional evidence.
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