March 24, 2013

Resounding ‘No’ in turbine vote

Diss Express | 24 March 2013 |

People in Hempnall turned out in force last Monday evening to register their official opposition to controversial proposals to build four wind turbines.

During a five-hour period 422 people delivered a No vote, while 100 said they were in favour in a parish poll.

Now their views will be sent to South Norfolk Council which last week also received official objections from the influential English Heritage.

It says despite being a smaller scheme than one turned down in 2008, it still contained elements harmful to the historical environment and the impact of the turbines would result in harm to the significance of the Grade I St Margaret’s Church, Hempnall conservation area and the wider setting of conservation areas of Saxlingham Green and Fritton.

Hempnall parish clerk Ian Nelson said there had been a surge of people to cast their votes when the polling station at the Mill Centre opened.

There had been a turnout of 50.47 per cent at the voting booth, with 19.1 per cent favouring turbines and 80.54 per cent against. There were seven spoilt papers.

Parish council vice-chairman David Hook said he was delighted the turnout had been so high and officially showed what people thought.

Mr Nelson said the turnout was far higher than many parish polls conducted elsewhere which achieved an average 33 per cent turnout and being conducted officially would carry a lot of weight when considered by South Norfolk Council.

Campaign groups have reacted to the decision. Pro-turbine campaigner April Groene said less than half of those entitled to vote did so, indicating quite a considerable number did not mind turbines.

Hilary Battye, media spokesman of the pressure group SHOWT, Stop Hempnall Onshore Wind Turbines, said it was pleased with the vote, but also that English Heritage was adding its objections, which would add to SHOWT’s own expert’s concern.

On Tuesday, Hempnall parish council was due to receive presentations from SHOWT and applicants, Oxford-based TCI Renewables, planning application for the 126.5 high turbines.

South Norfolk Council has amassed some 703 documents and letters from groups and individuals about the proposals, ahead of Monday’s deadline for representations.

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