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Councillors to re-take decision on Halesworth turbines

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 November 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 01 August 2010

COUNCILLORS in Waveney have opted to re-take a decision on a planning bid to build wind turbines near Halesworth that resulted in a councillor quitting his cabinet post.

COUNCILLORS in Waveney have opted to re-take a decision on a planning bid to build wind turbines near Halesworth that resulted in a councillor quitting his cabinet post.

Members of Waveney District Council were called to an extraordinary meeting to decide whether the application, which was refused, should be reconsidered.

Last month the council's development control committee voted on an application by turkey giant Bernard Matthews to build five turbines on a former airfield in Holton. Councillor Chris Punt resigned as portfolio holder for finance following complaints that he broke council rules in voting on the decision because he had not declared he lived in the area, nor that he worked for a firm that could be affected by the outcome.

Councillors at the extraordinary meeting, that took place on Thursday, November 12, agreed with the recommendations of the monitoring officer that the decision be revoked and re-considered at the next available development control committee meeting. It is not known whether it will be on the agenda for the next meeting on Wednesday.

Yesterday both sides supported the outcome. A spokesman for Bernard Matthews said: “We welcome the decision taken by Waveney District Council to ask the planning committee to look at our application again.”

Adrian Simpson-James, co-ordinator of opposition group Westhall Wind Watch, said: “The district council made the most sensible decision possible under the circumstances. Above all, in referring the application back to the development control committee, they demonstrated their trust in the members of the committee to continue to act in a proper and professional manner.

“We remain confident that the facts surrounding the application will lead to the right decision being made. Plans revealed recently for a huge expansion in offshore wind farms around our region confirm our assertion that small-scale onshore wind farms like the ones proposed by Bernard Matthews are unnecessary and irrelevant; the damage they do to the local area and its people greatly outweighs the tiny contribution they might make to the country's renewable energy needs. The weight of argument against this wind farm will win the day.”

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