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Firm’s planning bid slammed as ‘cynical’

A campaign group fighting to stop a wind farm being constructed in south Norfolk has slammed the developer’s “cynical” interpretation of the planning system.

The 4Villages group has been called into action again, as it has emerged TCI Renewables is to submit another application to site three 126-metre wind turbines on land which is in four parishes in the Diss Express area.

It comes after a Government inspector ruled last October in support of South Norfolk Council’s planning committee unanimously rejecting a first proposal on the site at Upper Vaunces Farm.

A statement from TCI Renewables said its new wind farm layout addresses the key issues raised by the inspector.

Lucy Melrose, chairman of 4Villages, which comprises residents opposed to the bid, said: “This was always, and remains, an inappropriate site. The so-called revised design has changed nothing.

“TCI is now going to waste more of our local taxpayers’ money by engaging South Norfolk Council in another round.”

She added that 4Villages is dismayed that TCI Renewables refusing to accept the planning verdict means another long battle for local people who oppose the scheme, and described their interpretation of the planning system as “cynical”.

TCI Renewables’ application to get planning permission to build on the land, which is in the parishes of Dickleburgh, Rushall, Pulham Market and Pulham St Mary, was originally rejected by the planning authority back in 2010.

The firm then decided to appeal the decision, leading to inspector Zoe Hill presiding over a lengthy and detailed inquiry into the turbines bid.

She noted that while planning policies weighed heavily in favour of renewable energy projects, TCI Renewables’ original wind farm submission fell down on key areas, such as the impact on nearby buildings.

In particular, Mrs Hill cited the potential impact on the setting of St Mary’s Church, in Rushall, possible harm to the landscape character to the south of the site around Rushall, and the effect on living conditions at Lowbrook Farm, in Dickleburgh.

But, a statement from TCI Renewables argued that in its revised application, the turbines are located further to the north and east of the church. As a result, the firm claims, this would make them less prominent in views of the church from the footpath.

To combat the issue cited about the landscape character of Rushall, the TCI Renewables statement said that its proposed first and second turbines would be sited 340-metres further north, thereby reducing their prominence when viewed from within the smaller-scale landscape to the south.

And, in an attempt to solve the possible effect on living conditions at Lowbrook Farm, the new wind farm would be constructed significantly further away from Dickleburgh, thereby rendering it far less prominent for those who can see the turbines from the farm.

An exhibition of the new bid will be held by Oxford-based TCI Renewables at Pulham Market Memorial Hall on Wednesday between 3.30pm and 7.30pm.