Beccles turbines tipped for refusal

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a wind turbine development near Beccles have been re-commended for refusal.

Renewable energy company Stamford Renewables is seeking planning permission to build three groups of three turbines at Devonshire Farm and Granary Farm, in Ringsfield, and Laurels Farm in Barsham.

There has been strong local opposition to the scheme and the plans will be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of Waveney District Council’s development control committee at Beccles Public Hall on Monday.

Planning officers have recommended that the three applications be refused.

The applications were resubmitted in July after being withdrawn earlier this year.

A planning report states that 657 letters have been sent to the district council in respect of all three applications.

The council has received 272 letters of objection on grounds including visual impact, noise and impact on wildlife.

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Other concerns are that the turbines would dominate the landscape of Beccles, diminish the quality of life for residents and be too close to houses and schools.

There have been 32 letters of support with those in favour saying it is important to secure energy supplies, it is better to use wind power rather than nuclear energy and it will help meet the district’s own renewable energy targets.

The council has also received two petitions, one of nine signatures from people living in Lowestoft saying it is preferable to have wind farms rather than Sizewell to harvest natural resources and the second of 10 signatures from people living in Shipmeadow, Barsham and Bungay saying that windfarms are the way forward.

HALT, a residents’ group fighting the plans, lists a number of concerns including that all three proposals are located in exceptionally close proximity to a large number of residential properties and are very close to and would be widely visible from The Broads.

They say there would also be a major adverse impact on the setting of a number of historic assets.

Beccles Town Council and the Broads Authority are among the bodies that have been consulted and have recommended the applications be refused.

In conclusion the planning report states: “Whilst the revised submission has answered some of the questions raised with the previous application, significant gaps remain.

“In particular, there are significant uncertainties on the question of noise, and the absence of comprehensive wildlife surveys.

“In addition there are deficiencies in the methodology for consideration of the visual impact of the proposal.

“As a result officers have concluded that the potential impacts are sufficient to overcome the general support for renewable energy and as a result the application is recommended for refusal.”

Concerns about the impact on the setting of All Saints Church, Ringsfield, and on the listed Church of St Bartholomew are also highlighted.