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Protesters to fly blimp in wind turbine fight

Protesters fighting plans to erect a 259ft high wind turbine near Somerby plan to fly a blimp on Saturday to show how tall it would be.

Melton borough councillor for Somerby ward Mark Barnes wants to install the 79m high turbine on his land at Southfields Farm, to the south of the village.

But worried villagers have raised a raft of objections about the impact the turbine would have if the planning application to Melton Council is approved.

Campaigners fighting the plans have formed the Somerby Turbine Opposition Plan (STOP) group which has published and sent out flyers showing how tall the turbine would be, compared with two local churches.

The group also plan to fly a blimp as a further indicator.

Group chairman Martin Reason said: “We’re campaigning to prevent an industrial structure going in a very rural landscape. We’re also very concerned about the potential degradation of our heritage assets, including the Grade One listed Owston Church and Somerby Church, and the ecological impact on wildlife.”

Somerby Parish Council is unanimously opposed to the plans, citing numerous reasons including the proposed turbine’s ‘significant and adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area.’ Other concerns raised include noise and visual impact.

Somerby Riding School also fears the turbine could have a negative impact on its business.

A design and access statement, submitted on Mr Barnes’ behalf, said: “The applicant acknowledges the development will have an impact on the area, particularly in respect of visual impact. The planning application however demonstrates that the impact on the development is outweighed by the national imperative for energy production and is in accordance with guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework.”

The applicants claim the turbine will produce enough electricity to power about 328 homes, more than 90 per cent of the homes in Somerby parish.