Laxfield: TV presenter angered by turbine bid

TELEVISION presenter Peter Purves has slammed plans for the installation of three wind turbines on farmland near his Suffolk home.

The proposal comes little more than a year after the same applicant withdrew plans for a taller single turbine - leading his former Blue Peter host neighbour to declare “enough is enough”.

The new application, for three wind turbines measuring 14.97m to hub with 5.5m diameter blades, in Laxfield, near Halesworth, has been recommended for approval by the local parish council despite objection from Mr Purves and his wife, Kate.

Green energy contractor Windcrop Ltd claimed the turbines present minimal visual impact on the landscape - but Mr Purves, who could not convince the parish council to carry his objection, called the plans “intrusive, unsightly and unnecessary.”

Last June, an application for a single 18m turbine was withdrawn following more than 20 objections from neighbouring properties. But in April this year, Mid Suffolk Suffolk District Council granted permission for the same landowner to install a ground level array of 40 solar panels to provide power to the 15-acre property, where hundreds of native trees and hedges have also been planted.

Mr Purves told the parish council: “I accept that these turbines are a little shorter than the original 15kw turbine, but we are still talking about approximately 50ft here, and of course, three turbines are infinitely more intrusive, unsightly, and it would seem unnecessary.

“I would suggest that enough is enough. The southern approach to Laxfield has had its beautiful aspect destroyed by the turbine at Low Farm. And the approach to Laxfield from the Stradbroke direction is now dominated by the presence of two more.

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“To allow three more turbines to be constructed between these two sites means that within some 2000 metres there would be six. All clearly visible for at least six months of the year from Dennington Road. Surely this is unacceptable, and I do not believe that the majority of people in this village, many of whom have lived here a great deal longer than I, would want our countryside spoilt any further, nor for Laxfield to become a windfarm by the back door. I am not anti renewable energy, but let’s site these turbines in appropriate locations, not in previously unspoilt countryside that we love.”

John Moore, managing director of Norwich-based Windcrop, which has installed around 280 systems across the eastern region, said: “One or two people are very vocally against the application, which the parish council recommended for approval on balance.

“The vast majority of our systems are not contentious at all. The planning process is pretty strict and we have to site the turbines a long way from neighbours.”

Consultation on the application continues until August 15, with a decision expected no earlier than September 11.

Windcrop Ltd meanwhile has an application registered for two turbines in Hemingstone, near Coddenham.

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