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Wind turbine decision expected

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 December 2009 | UPDATED: 08:59 01 August 2010

Victoria Nicholls

A final decision on a controversial planning application by turkey giant Bernard Matthews to build wind turbines near Halesworth will be made this week.

A final decision on a controversial planning application by turkey giant Bernard Matthews to build wind turbines near Halesworth will be made this week.

It will put an end to the saga that led to members of Waveney District Council being called to an extraordinary meeting last month where they agreed revoke the original decision that had been made by the development control committee.

The committee had voted to reject the application to build five turbines on a former airfield in Holton near one of Bernard Matthews' factory sites.

But it later emerged that a councillor had broken council rules during the meeting. Councillor Chris Punt resigned as portfolio holder for finance after speaking out against the application and taking part in the vote, despite not having declared he lived in the area or that he worked for a firm that could be affected by the outcome.

A complaint was also made to the council's standards committee that Mr Punt breached the councillor code of conduct.

Both Bernard Matthews and a group that formed to fight the proposals agreed that the council took the correct action in opting to reconsider the application, which will take place at the development control committee meeting on Wednesday at 6pm at the Town Hall in Lowestoft.

As previously, officers are recommending the project for approval subject to conditions, which include a applying time limit of 25 years, amending the position of one of the turbines, adding the clause to remove any turbines that fail to produce electricity for a continuous period of 12 months, and put in place mitigation measures for wildlife in the area.

Opposition group Westhall Wind Watch has raised a number of issues with the proposal, saying that the rural landscape would be spoilt and describing the planned turbines as an “industrial invasion”. Members say the turbines would impact negatively on the environment and the quality of life for people living miles away from the site.

Westhall Parish Council also recommends refusal of planning permission, saying the turbines will have a huge impact on all areas of the village, both visually and with noise and claims that the planning application goes against WDC local development core Strategy document in which it states that the peace and tranquillity of the countryside will be protected.

Halesworth Town Council supports the bid in principle, subject to a minimised impact on surrounding villages.

Bernard Matthews says the installation of the wind turbines, which would have a maximum height to tip of 100m, is part of its drive towards green energy.

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