Latest twist in turbine saga as council distances itself from anonymous flyer distributed to residents
South Norfolk Council has distanced itself from a leaflet imploring people to back a controversial wind farm bid.
The anonymous leaflet has been distributed to nearly 1,700 homes in the area around Upper Vaunces Farm, where TCI Renewables is applying to site three 126-metre wind turbines.
While the Oxfordshire-based firm has admitted financing the leaflet scheme, mystery surrounds who actually commissioned it.
Martin Wilby, the council’s deputy leader, said: “The council’s development management team has been informed that a flyer requesting support for the Upper Vaunces wind farm planning application has been sent to local residents.
“Many residents have concluded that the flyer was sent from South Norfolk Council, but I can assure them that this is not the case. We are currently trying to establish who has sent the leaflet, but the council has had no involvement whatsoever in its production or distribution.”
The party behind the leaflets, a group of local people, according to TCI Renewables, has listed several reasons why renewable energy is desirable.
The flyer goes on to explain why the authors believe the Upper Vaunces Farm application, which would be constructed on land in the Pulhams, Dickleburgh, and Rushall, should be approved.
In addition to this, the two-sided leaflet contains a slip, on which people can write their name underneath a message expressing support for the wind farm bid, that can be cut out and sent to the council.
Lucy Melrose, of 4Villages, a group formed to challenge the turbines project, said: “People are entitled to voice their support, just as much as we voice our objection. But, if you’re going to do something like this, at least have the courage to stick your name on it.”
TCI Renewables submitted a revised application for the turbines last month.
It had to reapply because a Government inspector ruled last year in support of the district council’s planning committee unanimously rejecting a first proposal.
A spokesman for the developer said its new wind farm layout addresses the key issues raised by the inspector, but 4Villages has argued that the new design has changed nothing.
Mrs Melrose is confident the new application will also be refused. She said: “It is as ludicrous and ill-thought-through as the previous bid, and a huge waste of planning officers’ time.”
Fuel has been added to 4Villages’ fire with Natural England telling the planning authority that the ornithological survey TCI Renewables submitted for the bid’s Environmental Statement is now outdated.
Nick Bolton, Norfolk’s district ecologist, said a new survey could take at least two years to produce.
The proposed wind farm would have an operational life of about 25 years, and could produce enough energy to power about 4,000 homes annually.
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