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Appeal hearing opens over controversial wind farm application

The impact a windfarm could have on the Fenland landscape was among the arguments presented at the opening of an appeal hearing into a controversial planning application.

Falck Renewables Wind is appealing West Norfolk Council’s decision to refuse permission for nine wind turbines on land between Clenchwarton and Terrington St Clement.

Despite planners recommending approval, councillors on the planning committee refused the application in February 2015 citing, among their reasons, that the number and height of the turbines would harm the landscape.

They also felt the development would have an impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Norfolk coast and the renewable energy benefits would not outweigh the harm caused.

But at yesterday’s appeal opening, the applicant continued to argue the site on land to the east of Rhoon Road, Ongar Hill Road, in Terrington St Clement remains ideal for its operations.

Representing Falck Renewables Wind, barrister David Hardy said: “This is an excellent location for a commercial windfarm of this size and scale in England.

“There is a sharp contrast between the landscape in which the windfarm would sit and the organic ‘wild’ landscape to the north of the sea wall.”

He also argued the windfarm would contribute to the government’s drive for more renewable energy sources, including a national target that 15pc of all energy will come from renewable sources by 2020.

But Timothy Leader, the barrister representing West Norfolk Council, argued the wind turbines, proposed to be up to 127m high, would impact the Fenland landscape.

Mr Leader added the development would also affect views and enjoyment of the walks and outdoor opportunities in the area.

The application has generated the interest of local residents and campaigners, many of whom attended the first day of proceedings and have requested to speak during the four-day hearing. MP for North West Norfolk Sir Henry Bellingham will also appear on Thursday.

The hearing is being led by Paul Jackson, a government appointed inspector, at Knights Hill Hotel.

Among his requests yesterday was further detail from Falck Renewables Wind about the potential noise impact the development could have.