Permission to build a wind turbine, measuring “the equivalent of 18 double decker buses stacked up”, on farmland outside Haverhill has been refused.
The decision came today, (Thursday, February 6) after almost 12 months of discussion on the application, entered by James Sills.
Applause rang out from the public gallery as 10 members of the St Edmundsbury Borough Council Development Control Committee voted to refuse the application.
Two members abstained from voting and three members declared an interest, including Cllr Anne Gower, for Haverhill North, who lives near to the proposed turbine site.
Cllr Roger André, town mayor, Cllr Maureen Byrne, deputy town mayor and borough councillor, and Clive Boase, of Hazel Stub, spoke at the meeting against the turbine plans.
Cllr André said: “We are delighted that the turbine has been refused on this occasion – just disappointed that the other issues couldn’t be used as well.
“We fully understand the position of the planning officer in terms of the exposure of risk for the borough council. We hope it won’t go to appeal, but if it does we are confident that our grounds are solid.”
At the previous committee meeting on January 2, members attempted to refuse the appliaction – but because it had been recommended for approval by officers, they had to go away and investigate the implications of saying no.
They recommended that if members were to refuse the application, it should be because the turbine would have an “adverse impact on the landscape”.
Other concerns raised included the impact on surrounding wildlife, the effect on nearby listed buildings and how the turbine would interfere with flight paths from Stansted Airport.
Despite this, English Heritage, Natural England and National Air Traffic Services did not object to the application.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Byrne said: “Reluctantly I must agree that the potential for exposing the authority to costly risk by pursuing refusal on the other grounds we suggested is too great to ignore.
“The visual impact of this proposal has implications for several communities and is not limited to those within the immediate vicinity – the only ones who have any protection in planning law.
“It is a sad reflection on our powers as local representatives that our capacity to prevent this travesty is so limited.”
Cllr Byrne added that the sole beneficiary of the turbine would be the applicant – not the local community.
Neville Nicholson, a scientist who lives in Helions Bumpstead, was also in opposition of the turbine due to the dangers it could cause to residents living and travelling nearby, the blight on the surrounding countryside and the effect on local wildlife.
He said: “I think solar panels are the way forward because we have acres and acres of rooves – but wind turbines are a turkey.
“Thank you to the councillors for listening. They all came to a site visit a few days before Christmas – to take the trouble and come out and make the journey is very impressive.”
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