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Planning inspector to rule on controversial Somerby wind turbine proposal after applicant appeals

A planning appeal challenging Melton Council’s decision to refuse permission for a 200ft high wind turbine to be built in Somerby gets underway later this month.

At a meeting in June Melton Council’s planning committee voted narrowly in favour (four votes to three) of a recommendation to refuse plans to erect the turbine on land at Southfields Farm in Church Lane.

The committee gave four grounds for refusal, the fourth being that ‘the proposed turbine would give rise to an unacceptable risk of harm to the health of a local resident’ – specifically relating to an autistic child.

But applicants Mark and Jane Barnes claimed the report by an independent medical specialist was ‘fundamentally flawed’ as it ‘had relied on false assumptions’.

Despite villagers’ overwhelming objections the planning committee had previously voted in favour of the turbine, in January, but it reconsidered the application in June after being asked to consider new information relating to the proposal – the key piece being the turbine’s potential impact upon the health of the autistic child.

Now the application will be decided by a planning inspector after Mr Barnes lodged an appeal.

This week it was confirmed the appeal will be decided on the basis of an informal hearing to be held at Melton Council’s Parkside offices on Wednesday, November 19 at 10am.

The planning committee meeting in January heard that the council had received more than 500 written objections to the turbine proposal from more than 300 homes. Objectors’ concerns included the turbine being ‘an intrusive presence for miles around’ and it having a detrimental impact upon the landscape as well as nearby equestrian businesses and residents.

But the applicants claimed the proposed site had ‘no special landscape designation’, that there were ‘no legitimate planning reasons to refuse the application’ and that the turbine would ‘only directly affect three houses’.