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Campaigners jubilant as windfarm refused

PUBLISHED: 10:53 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 07:34 01 August 2010

CAMPAIGNERS were jubilant last night after controversial plans to build a windfarm in the south Norfolk village of Hempnall were unanimously refused.

More than 100 local people packed into the chamber at South Norfolk Council's headquarters in Long Stratton to listen to the debate over plans by renewable energy company Enertrag UK to build seven 125m high turbines on land at Bussey's Loke.

CAMPAIGNERS were jubilant last night after controversial plans to build a windfarm in the south Norfolk village of Hempnall were unanimously refused.

More than 100 local people packed into the chamber at South Norfolk Council's headquarters in Long Stratton to listen to the debate over plans by renewable energy company Enertrag UK to build seven 125m high turbines on land at Bussey's Loke.

The proposals had been recommended for refusal and were last night unanimously turned down by the council's south-west area planning committee. Enertrag said that it would appeal the decision.

There has been widespread opposition to the plans and Michael Windridge, district councillor for Hempnall, who has been a leading campaign against the scheme, said: “I am absolutely delighted the planning committee took the importance of protecting south Norfolk's landscape into account. It is our most priceless asset.

“Enertrag have completely failed to understand just how deeply attached local villagers are to their own countryside. We will fight this appeal with all our vigour.”

The scheme was recommended for refusal on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the character of the area and visual amenity, it would have an impact on listed buildings and Norwich International Airport, there would be insufficient visibility at the junction of the B1332/B1527 and because it is contrary to policies.

Objectors to the scheme included local protest group Showt (Stop Hempnall's Onshore Wind Turbines).

Group spokesman Hilary Battye said: “Of course we are delighted the planning committee has voted against this proposal, recognising the unsuitability of the site because of unacceptable visual intrusion. The appropriate planning policies have been applied with rigour and therefore it is the right result.

“We are, however mindful of Enertrag's right of appeal and certainly their normal behaviour to do so. We hope that they will give thought to the level of opposition to this proposal and the fact that this is not a suitable site, a view that we feel a planning inspector will share.”

The district council received objections from Hempnall, Saxlingham, Shotesham and Woodton parish councils and recommendations of refusal from Topcroft, Tasburgh and Morningthorpe parish councils.

Other objectors included South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon and county councillor Adrian Gunson.

The district council received more than 600 letters of objection and 62 letters in support of the scheme.

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) wrote in support of the scheme which it said would make a contribution towards the region's renewable energy targets.

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