Controversial plans to build a wind farm in south Norfolk have moved a step closer.
A subsidiary of energy development firm TCI Renewables has submitted a planning application to South Norfolk Council to build four wind turbines each measuring nearly 130 metres in Hempnall.
Despite the fact the wind farm would be able to produce enough electricity for nearly 4,400 homes, the local district councillor has slammed the firm’s decision to lodge the bid – revived after another developer failed to deliver the project.
Michael Windridge said: “People gave their verdict loud and clear when they and South Norfolk Council unanimously opposed the previous developer’s controversial application. The majority will of village residents is being trampled on.
“It remains the case that, given the size of these industrial structures, this planning proposal will have a massive visual impact on the surrounding countryside and landscape.
“TCI just cannot comprehend the deep attachment Hempnall people have to the beauty and tranquillity of their local environment.”
As part of the scheme, TCI has said it will create an annual community fund of £16,000 to spend on local initiatives.
Nearly five years ago, the land in Bussey’s Lane was proposed for a seven-turbine scheme by Enertrag. A local protest group, SHOWT, formed to display opposition to the bid.
It was eventually rejected by South Norfolk Council, as well as by a planning inspector on appeal. Enertrag then opted to sell the land to TCI.
With regard to the former’s bid, the inspector raised concerns about landscape and visual impact, plus noise intrusion.
A TCI spokesman said: “Since taking over the project, we have undertaken comprehensive technical and environmental studies that have informed a new scheme design that fully responds to the inspector’s concerns.”
The firm has also held two public exhibitions, which it claims were an opportunity for village residents to comment on and contribute to the evolution of the farm’s design and layout.
As a result, the spokesman said, the length of access tracks has been cut, the number and height of turbines has been reduced, and the positions of the turbines have been moved to take greater account of views from buildings of high heritage value, the locations of bat-feeding areas and commuting routes, and properties that would be sensitive to noise.
Andrew Mahon, project manager for TCI, said: “We are committed to ensuring that the local community is given additional opportunities to benefit from the project through the creation of a community fund.”
The Oxfordshire-based firm already has – equally controversial – plans to build a wind farm on land between Rushall, Dickleburgh and the Pulhams.
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