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Legal challenge ditched over wind turbines scheme at Hempnall

Plans for a controversial wind farm in south Norfolk have been dropped much to the delight of campaigners.

TCI Renewables, which planned to build three 126 metre high wind turbines in Hempnall near Diss, has pulled out of its High Court legal challenge against the Secretary of State Eric Pickles’s decision to reject the development.

TCI Renewables would not comment on its withdrawal, but South Norfolk Council says the company can lodge different turbine plans for the site if it wants to start up the planning process again.

Despite the uncertainty there was delight and relief from those people who had campaigned against the plans.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said: “The gentle rural landscape of south Norfolk is not a suitable place for industrial-scale turbines, so news that TCI Renewable is no longer pursuing a judicial review is promising.

“For years local residents, councillors and MPs have sought to ensure that our planning officials, national planning inspectors and the Secretary of State all understand the strength of feeling against the industrialisation of the Norfolk landscape.

“I hope this draws to a close the long and protracted campaign to protect Hempnall.”

In October Mr Pickles stated in a report the wind farm called Streetwood Wind Farm around Busseys Loke, would have an ‘adverse effect on the character of the landscape’ and ‘would undermine the areas tranquility’.

He also highlighted the importance of the village’s conservation area and said the turbines blades would ‘detract from the setting’ of the grade I listed St Margaret’s Church.

Michael Windridge, South Norfolk councillor for Hempnall Ward, said: “After eight gruelling years, this is a great day for local democracy.”

Council solicitors have said the developer’s decision is ‘inexplicable’ and are planning to pursue a claim to recoup some of the cost involved in the judicial review.

History of turbine plans

In 2006 Enertrag UK and landowners began planning for turbines to be erected on land in Hempnall and campaign group Stop Hempnall’s Onshore Wind Turbines was developed

It was finally 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.

South Norfolk Council refused planning permission last January with TCI lodging an appeal, which was rejected by secretary of state Eric Pickles.