Wind farm approved despite protests

SUFFOLK'S first wind farm has been approved overwhelmingly, despite major concerns from villagers living closest to the development.As revealed on the Evening Star's website yesterday, Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control committee voted 14 to one in favour of Ipswich-based Saxon Windpower's application to build six 100m turbines at Parham Airfield, near Framlingham, at a packed meeting.

SUFFOLK'S first wind farm has been approved overwhelmingly, despite major concerns from villagers living closest to the development.

As revealed on the Evening Star's website yesterday, Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control committee voted 14 to one in favour of Ipswich-based Saxon Windpower's application to build six 100m turbines at Parham Airfield, near Framlingham, at a packed meeting.

The decision was greeted with delight by supporters, and deep disappointment by objectors who had gathered in large numbers for the decisive five-hour meeting at Stratford St Andrew, near Saxmundham.

Many of those living closest to the scheme are fearful of the effects it will have on them, both in terms of the visual impact and the noise of the moving blades.

The scheme has faced strong opposition locally since it was revealed in 2003, and communities have been divided over the issue.

Parish councils closest to the site at Parham, Marlesford and Great Glemham, put forward their case against the development, citing a series of concerns, including criticism that the amount of electricity it would generate was too small to justify it.

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Councillors at the meeting expressed concern over the possible effect on residents, and the approval comes with a string of conditions, including that the turbines should be switched off at speeds where planning officers have deemed that noise could be intrusive.

Richard Ward, chairman of the Suffolk Preservation Society, which has been vociferous in its opposition to the plans because of fears over the visual impact, said: “The Parham decision suggests that national considerations and objectives appear to be given greater weight than local community concerns. It's this emphasis that is most worrying to the society as it appears to be part of an emerging trend.”

Richard Marden, managing director of Your Energy, one of the companies involved in Saxon Windpower, said he was “delighted”.

The company will now be involved in talks with planners, who have been given authority to approve the application, about a legal agreement for the site, and terms and conditions.

He guessed it would take another 12 months before work could start on the site, and a further six months for construction to be completed.

N What do you object to having a wind farm near you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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