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Refusal recommended for turbines

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:32 01 August 2010

PLANS for a wind turbine development near Beccles have been earmarked for refusal by district planners.

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

PLANS for a wind turbine development near Beccles have been earmarked for refusal by district planners.

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

There has been strong local opposition to the scheme and a campaign group called HALT has been formed to fight the plans.

The three applications will be discussed at a meeting of Waveney District Council's development control committee on April 19 and have all been recommended for refusal on the grounds that insufficient information has been provided.

District planners say that 590 letters were sent to the council in respect of all three applications.

The council has received 212 letters of objection about the Granary Farm application, 213 about the Laurels Farm application and 228 regarding the Devonshire Farm proposals.

Residents' concerns include that the turbines would be too close to homes and would cause shadow flicker and noise.

They are also worried that the turbines would have a negative impact on the landscape, tourism and the Broads national park and would cause problems with television reception.

HALT also submitted comments and these mainly relate to inaccuracies in the applications.

The council has received 21 letters in support of the Granary Farm application, 25 in support of the Laurels Farm application and 23 in support of the Devonshire Farm application.

Supporters say that increasing renewable energy is vital to reduce greenhouse gases and that climate change will have a greater impact on the landscape than turbines. The council has also received a petition of 10 signatures supporting the applications.

The reports conclude: “The key material planning considerations which need to be balanced against this policy context are the impact of the proposed turbines on the surrounding landscape, the natural and historic environment and residential amenity. In determining the application members need to address the significance of these impacts.

“The environmental statement should be the key tool ... however, in this case the environmental statement has a number of significant deficiencies, falling well short of best practice and government guidance.”

The reports say the most significant issues are: the absence of a cumulative impact assessment of the visual impact; the absence of comprehensive wildlife surveys; deficiencies in the methodology for consideration of the impacts on the historic environment; the lack of adequate consideration of alternatives, and in relation to the Devonshire Farm application uncertainties over noise.

“As a result officers have concluded that the application includes insufficient information to enable a proposer assessment of the proposal to be made, and it is recommended for refusal for this reason,” all three reports conclude.

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