A South Norfolk community is celebrating today after winning a battle to stop a windfarm being built.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles rejected plans for the turbines on land at Busseys Loke at Hempnall as it would have an “adverse effect on the character of the landscape” and “would undermine the tranquillity of the area”.
Mr Pickles also stressed the importance of the village’s conservation area and said the turbine blades would “detract from the setting” of the grade I listed St Margaret’s Church.
Michael Windridge, South Norfolk councillor for Hempnall, who helped lead the villagers’ campaign against the win farm, said: “This is a massive endorsement by the government of a village community’s determination to stand up to the formidable powers of a local landowner and an ambitious developer.”
In January 2013 a planning application was submitted by TCI Renewables, an independent renewable energy business, to build four 126m high wind turbines in a development called Streetwood Wind Farm.
Hempnall’s fight against the turbines
• In 2006 Enertrag UK and landowners began planning for turbines to be erected on land in Hempnall
• In the same year, Stop Hempnall’s Onshore Wind Turbines, was developed to campaign against the wind turbines
• Enertrag UK’s application for seven turbines was refused by South Norfolk County Council. The company took it to an appeal but were also rejected at a public inquiry
• Oxford-based TCI Renewables submitted a scoping opinion application for land in the village in November 2011 after buying the site from Enetrag
• In January 2013 a planning application was submitted by TCI Renewables to develop Streetwood wind farm with four turbines later reduced to three
• South Norfolk council’s development management committee refused planning permission in January 2014 South Norfolk council’s development management committee-TCI lodged an appeal and the decision was made by Mr Pickles
TCI later revised their application and removed one of the turbines but in January South Norfolk Council’s development management committee refused planning permission despite a recommendation from council officers.
But because the authority did not make a decision on the application within eight weeks, TCI lodged an appeal – meaning a formal planning inquiry was started by the council.
Geoff Moulton, chairman of campaign group Stop Hempnall’s Onshore Wind Turbines (SHOWT), said: “In a nutshell this is a great victory for democracy. We’ve been fighting for years and the councils have agreed time again that Hempnall is not the place for a windfarm.
“The strength of the case laid in the impact the turbines would have visually and to our conservation area and grade I listed church.”
TCI Renewables was unavailable for comment.
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