Concerned villagers are fighting to stop a large wind turbine from being built on farmland close to their homes, claiming it will dominate the skyline and be the second highest structure in Suffolk.
Mid Suffolk District Council has received an application to install a single 250kW wind turbine at Yew Tree Farm in Laxfield, near Framlingham. The structure would have a hub height of 30m, with an overall tip height of 45m.
Campaigners say this would mean it would be taller than the flag pole on the village church – itself the second highest building in the county.
But last night agents Mosscliff Environmental, on behalf of the applicant, said they believed the turbine would be well screened and that for most people it should not be visible.
Proposals for two smaller wind turbines at the same site were given the green light in 2010, although two subsequent applications for single wind turbines have been refused.
Villager Tom Knox said: “We live about a mile away from where it is proposed and look directly down onto the two that are already there. For a start no one knew about it – we found out completely by accident. Once we discovered what was happening I did a letter drop. People were in the dark.
“It would be hugely inappropriate. I’ve lived her for 53 years and looked out over that skyline – there’s nowhere else like it in the world. To have it ruined like that would be absolutely bizarre.”
Mr Knox said many people were also concerned about the ecological impact as barn owls used the field to hunt.
Mark Tinney, who has lived in Laxfield for 34 years and is also opposed, said: “It’s going to be far too large for the location. I’m concerned that this could be the thin end of the wedge. The fact that two turbines already exist in the area could be a reason for allowing another.
“There’s also no suggestion that the village will benefit. What if just 10% of the profits were given to the parish?”
Villager Michael Cole added: “The turbine would be 45m high to the tips of the blades. That is 147ft and therefore 50% higher than the top of the flag pole on the top of Laxfield Church, itself the second highest point in Suffolk.”
Laxfield Parish Council recently called a meeting to discuss the application, with councillors voting to oppose it.
Chairman Tony Oakes said: “We don’t think the turbine should go ahead because of the visual impact. Last time two were put up, which we did agree with because they were being used for the farm. But this time there is no benefit to the village at all.”
It has been quoted that the applicant could expect to make around £80,000 from selling the energy generated by the turbine to the national grid. “We would all indirectly pay in green charges on our electricity bills,” Mr Cole added.
A spokesman for Suffolk based Mosscliff said any expected profit was an estimation as it depends on a range of factors – including wind speed. The actually price paid for the energy produced was set by the Government, he added. “With regards to the height, with have chosen the smallest one possible for a 250kW turbine predominately because there are pylons right across the land of a similar size and we wanted to be in keeping with that,” he said. “The landscape is naturally screened. Due to the topography we don’t think most people will be able to see it, although it may be visible from certain places. But by and large you shouldn’t be able to.”
With regards to consultation a spokesman for Mid Suffolk said notices were put up on public rights of way near the proposed site and nearby landowners were also written to. “All comments and concerns received by the council over the course of the public consultation will be taken into consideration when a final decision on the planning application is made,” he added. People have until September 4 to comment on the proposals.
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