“It would fly in the face of all logic and common sense if it was approved.”
That is the message from a local protest group following the news that TCI Renewables has referred judgement on their application to build to build three 126-metre wind turbines on land in four parishes in the Diss Express area to a planning inspector – before South Norfolk Council has discussed the application.
TCI’s submitted a revised application to build the turbines on part of Upper Vaunces Farm in the parishes of Dickleburgh, Rushall, Pulham Market and Pulham St Mary, at the end of April after a planning inspector turned down their appeal in October last year.
The turbines have been repositioned to address issues raised by the planning inspector at the last appeal.
TCI is once again taking its application to an appeal, this time for non-determination – only possible if the local authority does not issue a decision on an application within eight weeks.
A spokesman from the Oxfordshire-based developer said that South Norfolk Council had been given 16 weeks and had not come to a decision.
She said: “Our appeal has been accepted by the planning inspector for non determination.”
She did not wish to comment any further.
But Lucy Melrose of the 4Villages campaign group, which has challenged the turbines from the beginning, said they are still as determined as ever to fight.
She said: “It’s absolutely no surprise whatsoever.
“They are appealing in the hope that the planning inspector sides with them and throws out the opinions of reputable organisation like Natural England.
“But I think it is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money, especially when vulnerable members of the local community are suffering because of cuts.
“This is a project that brings virtually no benefits to the community or jobs.
“It remains an inappropriate site and they still haven’t submitted all the adequate information.
“Natural England wants one to two years and more correct ornithological studies.
“What is the planning inspector going to do? Say that they don’t have to do that now? I just don’t know.”
Planning inspector Zoe Hill, who presided over a lengthy and detailed inquiry following TCI’s first appeal last year, concluded that while planning policies weighed heavily in favour of renewable energy projects, the plans still fell down on key areas, mainly the impact on nearby homes.
A spokesman from TCI told the Diss Express in May that its revised application addressed the key issues raised by the inspector, although 4Villages argued that the new design had changed nothing.
South Norfolk Council was unable to comment on the reasons why it had not come to a decision. A spokesman simply said: “An appeal has been lodged but no dates have been set.”
The proposed wind farm would have an operational life of about 25 years and the application includes building a control building, electricity transformers, underground cabling, access tracks, crane hardstandings and vehicular access.
It could produce enough energy to power about 4,000 homes annually.
The application was originally submitted and rejected in 2010.
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