A pair of “monstrous” wind turbines have been rejected because of Ministry of Defence objections and fears they could impact of the future of RAF Coltishall.
Members of the North Norfolk District Council development committee refused the application by Airvolution Energy Limited to build two 126.5m-high turbines off North Walsham Road, Scottow, close to the former RAF Coltishall, yesterday.
Planning officers had recommended it for refusal on the grounds that the turbines would be 16km from the Air Defence radar at Trimingham and would cause “unacceptable interference”.
Other grounds of refusal included the turbines’ impact on the listed buildings and conservation area at RAF Coltishall and their potential prejudice to future development plans on the former airbase.
Councillor Richard Shepherd described the turbines as “monstrous” and another committee member Roy Reynolds described them as “horrendous”.
Mr Reynolds added: “I don’t think our safety should be compromises in any way whatsoever. There have been suggestions that RAF Coltishall could be an airpark in the future. This may not happen if these two turbines were close to the runway. Aviation would not be able to take place on the base.”
An MoD report said: “Trials carried out in 2005 concluded that wind turbines can have detrimental effects on the operation of radar which include the desensitisation of radar in the vicinity of the turbines, and the creation of ‘false’ aircraft returns.”
Broadland District Council member Barbara Rix, who is on the RAF Coltishall Liaison Committee, said residents would much prefer solar panels rather than turbines.
She added turbines would be “detrimental” for the Scottow area.
Planning officer Geoff Lyon told members Airvolution had not demonstrated how the turbines would affect the RAF Coltishall and its historic features, including Cold War blast walls a water tower and hangars.
Mr Lyon said the turbines would have been “prominent” on the landscape but added the council’s landscape officer did not think there were “significant grounds” to turn them down on that matter.
Rad Hart-George, senior development manager for Airvollution, said the company had not provided the information about potential impacts on RAF Coltishall because it had not been granted permission on to the site by Norfolk County Council, which owns the site.
After the decision was made Mr Hart-George said: “We feel it is a great disappointment because the opportunity to generate clean carbon free energy for 2,315 homes has been wasted.”
Opponent Steve Riley, chairman of the Badersfield Residents’ Association, said the refusal was “great news”.
He added: “The development of RAF Coltishall is extremely important and the council has made the right decision to protect future development on the site.”
Mr Riley, who is also on the RAF Coltishall Liaison Committee, said a consultation on the future of the former base was imminent.