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The answer is still ‘no’ to wind farm plan bid

A change in the way three wind turbines would be sited was not enough to convince a council that building a wind farm would avoid harm to the landscape, a listed church, and nearby homes.

TCI Renewables is bidding to develop the Upper Vaunces wind farm, on land in Dickleburgh and Pulham Market after a first application was rejected by South Norfolk Council, and then also thrown out at appeal by the Planning Inspectorate about a year ago.

The three turbines would be 126m in height, standing for 25 years and could power 4,000 homes.

South Norfolk Council’s planning committee met on Wednesday especially to discuss the plan, but in the unusual circumstances of not being able to refuse planning permission.

That is because TCI has already taken its plans above the council’s head to appeal, due to be heard in January.

Under planning law, anyone applying for planning permission can take their bid to appeal, if the planning authority does not make a decision within eight weeks.

But South Norfolk Council felt it necessary to hold a planning meeting to put a clear decision forward at the appeal hearing.

The committee agreed with the council’s planning officers that the wind farm should be rejected

Campaign group 4Villages has been fighting the plans. Lucy Melrose, of the group, said: “This application to all intents and purposes is pretty much the same as the last one. We have never wavered from the fact that this is an unsuitable site.”

The council concluded that the positioning of the turbines, on last east of Semere Green Lane, had an “unacceptable impact in the landscape”, harmed the setting of the Grade-I listed St Mary’s Church in Rushall, would still lead to “impacts on the living conditions of a number of properties”, and that there was still a lack of information on potential land contaminants on the former airfield site.

TCI Renewables and South Norfolk Council did not wish to comment while an appeal was pending.