Wind farm bid set to get green light
SUFFOLK'S first on-shore wind farm looks set to get the go-ahead next week following a planners' report which has come out in favour of the scheme.Saxon Windpower's controversial plans to build six 100m turbines at Parham Airfield, near Framlingham, have split opinion, and many living locally are very concerned about the effect the development would have on their quality of life.
By Sarah Chambers
SUFFOLK'S first on-shore wind farm looks set to get the go-ahead next week following a planners' report which has come out in favour of the scheme.
Saxon Windpower's controversial plans to build six 100m turbines at Parham Airfield, near Framlingham, have split opinion, and many living locally are very concerned about the effect the development would have on their quality of life.
Objectors, including campaign group No Windfarm At Parham (NOWAP) have raised concerns over a number of issues including the visual impact of the large structures, and noise produced by the turning blades.
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But Suffolk Coastal District Council planners are recommending that councillors give them authority to approve the plans, with conditions, when they meet next week, provided the results of noise surveys are acceptable.
Their 89-page report says: “At times both the blades and the turbine will be visible and could appear as an incongruous feature in the landscape.
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“However, it should be noted that the perception of wind turbines in the landscape is somewhat subjective and to some this view will be entirely acceptable.”
They accept there will be “extensive and direct” views of the turbines from many local properties, but conclude the wind farm “would not have an overbearing or oppressive effect on the outlook and amenity from residential properties”.
The council received 291 letters of support for the application, 53 of which were from residents of the district, and 306 opposed, 235 of which were from the district.
The local MP, Sir Michael Lord, has written to object, saying he is “deeply concerned” that it would have “a devastating effect on my constituents' lives and the surrounding countryside”.
English Heritage has also objected, because of concerns about the visual impact on Glemham Hall and Framlingham Castle.
Councillor Ivan Jowers, chairman of the development control committee, which meets at the Riverside Centre at Stratford St Andrew next Wednesday to consider the application, assured those who had responded that “their views will be considered properly”.
However, he added: “I would offer the reminder that planning applications cannot be judged on public opinion alone.
“As councillors we have a legal duty to take account of all the presented evidence and, even more importantly, how the application relates to national and local planning policies.”
NOWAP, which has been highly critical of the plans, was absorbing the news last night .
Drew Stephenson, planning advisor to NOWAP said: “NOWAP has just learnt this is on the website.
“We have not been sent a copy directly. We will read it carefully and comment once we have done so.”
But Saxon Windpower, which claims the site is capable of generating electricity equivalent to that used by more than 4,000 homes, described the planners' report as “a significant step” towards gaining planning permission for the site.
James Townsend, project manager for Saxon Windpower, said: “The diligence exhibited by the planning office is to be commended and further confirms that Parham Airfield Wind Farm is suitable for a wind farm and should be granted approval.”
Richard Mardon, director of Saxon Windpower, added: “After a four-year site identification and assessment period across Suffolk, we have demonstrated that Parham Airfield Wind Farm is the best location and possibly the only location where a wind farm could be built in the region.”