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Starston parish slams planning process after wind turbine earns approval

Opponents of a proposed wind turbine in Starston have heavily criticised South Norfolk Council’s planning process after the turbine’s application was accepted despite strong objections against it.

Plans for the 24-metre at White House Farm in Cross Road received conditional approval in April, but Starston parish councillors state that their numerous concerns were ignored and claim that this situation has highlighted serious issues with the way planning applications are dealt with by South Norfolk Council.

Edward Libbey, chairman of Starston Parish Council, said: “I think this is a very serious issue that undermines local democracy.

“It seems odd that such a contentious application was done without going to a planning committee or having a public discussion. It’s been dealt with by planning officers, who are not elected.

“The rules have permitted them to ignore district councillors and disregard some substantiated objections, which I find extraordinary. It seems to me discourteous.”

According to Mr Libbey, the parish’s district council representative, Keith Tilcock, was expecting to be contacted about his thoughts on the development, and was surprised to later find that he had been overlooked.

The parish council first lodged their opposition of the wind turbine, which is being proposed by Green Power Solutions UK, in August 2013, when the original plan envisaged a 34-metre structure.

A revised application for a smaller turbine was submitted several months later, but parish councillors upheld their objections on the grounds that it would have a detrimental impact on the village landscape.

“Starston Parish Council has not taken a view of ‘no wind farms’, but this one in particular would be twice the size of any building in the village,” Mr Libbey said.

“It is quite close to residential properties and there would be a lot of visual and noise impact.”

However, in the approval documentation, South Norfolk Council stated that the revised plans had ‘reduced the impact on the historic assets of the immediate area to an acceptable level.’

Green Power Solutions have said that the turbine could generate around 188,000 kWh of electricity per year.