Anger over backing for windfarm plan

A LOCAL campaign group has called for a planners' recommendation in favour of a controversial wind farm scheme to be withdrawn to allow a report on noise to be considered.

By Sarah Chambers

A LOCAL campaign group has called for a planners' recommendation in favour of a controversial wind farm scheme to be withdrawn to allow a report on noise to be considered.

Suffolk Coastal District Council planners are recommending that they should be given authority to approve Saxon Windpower's plans to build six 100m wind turbines at Parham Airfield, near Framlingham, when councillors discuss the scheme at a development control meeting next Wednesday .

But No Windfarm At Parham (NOWAP), which argues that the scheme is unacceptable because of the visual impact of the structures and the noise it would generate, is claiming the recommendations are “premature”.


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They say a report on noise commissioned by the group and submitted on Friday, September 23 - the last day of consultation - would be “sufficient to change the recommendation and decision”.

A statement said: “The officers' report was written before the end of the consultation period on the applicants' Addendum Report.

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“This is completely unacceptable as it is contrary to all government advice and to Suffolk Coastal District Council's stated policy on consultation

“We are asking the committee chairman to state that the recommendations are premature and are being withdrawn.”

But Suffolk Coastal District Council said the claims by NOWAP about consultation were “incorrect”.

“We have neither breached our own consultation policy or government advice,” a council spokesman said.

“NOWAP were fully aware of the deadlines that we (were) working to in producing the report.

“The report from the consultants commissioned by NOWAP was emailed to us at Friday lunchtime, after the report had been finalised.”

The report would be considered by officers and reported to councillors at the meeting, he said.

“As with any planning application, if any decisive information is given to the council after the deadline for the report being produced the planning officer can still alter the recommendation to the committee,” the spokesman said.

It was “unfortunate” that the report had arrived so late as the council urged people to submit evidence and comments early so there was time for it to be assessed and so that both sides could see what comments were being made, he added.

NOWAP commissioned an acoustical consultant, Richard Collman of Belair Research, to assess the wind farm proposals.

He claims that the proposed development would exceed noise limit guidance “in a number of cases” and that the applicants' analyses “understate the actual noise level that will be produced at the nearest dwellings by an amount that cannot be accurately quantified”.

“In my professional judgement the proposal will have significant detrimental impact on the amenity of the local residents living around the application site,” Mr Collman said.

NOWAP said they “confidently expect” the development control committee members to “take the wider view” and reject the application.

But James Townsend, project manager with Saxon Windpower, said: “It is unsurprising that NOWAP have commissioned and issued another report regarding the unacceptability of Parham Airfield Wind Farm.

“We have undertaken an exhaustive amount of assessments including detailed independent noise assessments.

“In fact, Suffolk Coastal District Council have undertaken their own detailed independent noise assessments, the results of which confirmed our independent consultants' conclusions.

“Therefore, Suffolk Coastal District Council have duly considered this in assessing whether to recommend approval for this planning application.”

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