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Belstead turbine refusal could be good news for nature as bid for site near Jimmy’s Farm is turned down

Babergh council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a huge wind turbine at Wherstead on the edge of Ipswich could pave the way for the creation of a new nature reserve on the edge of town.

That is the hope of campaigners who have been fighting plans for new turbines to the south of Ipswich for many years.

The turbines were first proposed by the former Conservative/LibDem administration at Ipswich council on land it owned at Belstead several years ago.

Working with green energy company Partnerships for Renewables (PfR) they proposed putting up two turbines in the village.

But after tests, the company decided the site was not suitable, although a site at Pannington Hall Farm Wherstead – near Jimmy’s Farm – would be appropriate for a 130-metre turbine.

This plan was rejected by Babergh planners last week, although there could still be an appeal from PfR.

David Cobbold, from Belstead Parish Council, has been one of the leading objectors to the proposal – and said if there was no appeal there could be a bright future for the villages.

There were proposals to build 14 homes in Belstead, which had been approved by Babergh, but they would not go ahead if the turbine was built because it would be so near that no one would want to buy them.

The proceeds from the sale of the homes would help to safeguard an area of ancient woodland and allow it to be turned into a nature reserve linking up with other woodland on the edge of Ipswich.

And a piece of wasteland in the middle of Belstead will be turned into a new village green.

Mr Cobbold said: “There is a real prospect of us getting a new nature reserve and the village green which is what people in the village are looking for – and we have talked to people in Ipswich about linking up with their natural areas.”

The creation of a larger nature reserve would be very good news for a number of species and would help make that part of the southern fringe of Ipswich a much more attractive place for those living in the village and at Thorington Hall.

A spokesman for PfR said the company would wait until it had received full written details of the reasons for the refusal of planning permission before deciding whether to appeal against the decision.

Realistically that meant it would be well into the new year because they did not expect to hear from Babergh before early 2015.