It has taken 13 years, four public inquiries and divided a community but it finally looks like a wind turbine legal battle could be at an end.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles agreed with planning inspector John Watson’s recommendation to dismiss an appeal against Breckland Council’s decision to reject a proposal to build two 100-metre turbines on land between Shipdham and Bradenham.
In a letter to the applicants, green energy company Ecotricity, Mr Pickles said the scheme “would be harmful to the settings” of listed buildings in the area and he agreed it would fail to “protect prized tranquillity”.
Mr Pickles agreed with the inspector that these issues outweighed the benefits of the turbine plan, which would have been based on land at Wood Farm, of Church Lane, Shipdham.
However, he said the proposal would not have caused harm to the amenity of the area and the “scheme would provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions”.
The applicants have six weeks to appeal the decision and have said they are considering their options.
A spokesman for Ecotricity said: “We are disappointed with the outcome and will review the details behind the decision over the next few weeks, before we consider whether or not to pursue a legal challenge.”
The company claimed the turbines could provide enough energy to power 3,300 homes each year.
Paul Hewett, chairman of Shipdham Parish Council, which opposed the turbines, said the decision was not a victory for opponents of the plans.
He said: “Speaking personally I think the community has lost.
“Shipdham has been holding its breath for the best part of 12 years.
“You just think that something has gone very wrong that an applicant can come back again and again.
“Hopefully we can rebuild a community that has been disaffected and I hope now we can get back to where we should be, and that is being the best village in Breckland and possibly the whole of Norfolk.
“The applicant has lost and the community has lost.
“If Breckland finds costs then the tax payer will have lost as well.”
Stephen Kite, chairman of Campaign Against Turbines in Shipdham, said: “Obviously we are delighted and we hope that this is the end of it.
“Four planning inspectors and the secretary of state, who is the highest planning authority in the land, have now said this site is not suitable for turbines.
“We hope that Ecotricity will agree that local democracy has done its job and see that enough is enough.”
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