Plans to build a 78 metre high wind turbine on the outskirts on Haverhill have been denied planning permission.
St Edmundsbury Council’s development control committee heard the plans of James Sills, who has already won permission for a similar turbine in Clare, last Thursday (February 6).
Councillors had attempted to stop his plans for the Nosterfield End turbine at the January 2 meeting, but were blocked over legal fears about their reasons for refusal.
The controversial plans were heard again, and despite the likelihood of a costly appeal councillors denied planning permission with ten voting against, two abstaining and three unable to participate.
Planning officer Charlotte Ballard had recommended the plans for approval, and despite getting over 60 objections based on danger to drivers, impact on nature and landscape, impact on heritage buildings and house prices and impact on flights and radar, Natural England, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, the Ministry of Defence, National Air Traffic and Stansted Airport had offered no objections.
Clive Boase, representing objectors, said it would be 39 ft higher than Ely Cathedral and added: “This is the wrong development in the wrong location – you have voted against this already and I urge you to hold your nerve and make the right decision now.”
Haverhill mayor Roger André said the benefits did not outweigh the adverse impact, saying that it would be the height of 18 double decker buses.
Cllr Maureen Byrne acknowledged the potential to be exposed to a costly appeal, but said: “It’s a sad reflection of our powers that our capacity to prevent this travesty is so limited.
“The only beneficiary is the applicant and I urge you to weigh the impact on an entire community against the benefit to one individual.”
The agent for Mr Sills said it would generate 1.6 to 1.8 million units of electricity – enough to power 370 homes.
Cllr Peter Stevens urged the council not be concerned by the financial ramifications of rejection, saying: “It’s our duty to listen to the general public and balance our opinions based on what we have heard.
“We shouldn’t be put off by the costs either for or against as it is a democratic right to choose.”
Cllr Julia Wakelam expressed concern about noise and houses being within 700 metres, saying: “As a Green you would expect me to support this but we do have to put it into context and there will be a noise impact and damage to the natural landscape.”
Cllr Trevor Beckworth said the fact the landscape was already scattered with man-made structures did not justify making it even worse.
Councillors then voted to refuse planning permission.
Commenting on the decision, Cllr André said: “Haverhill Town Council is delighted that members have recognised the awful impact on the environment and Haverhill residents but remains disappointed that so many other concerns have been dismissed purely on planning law.”
Mr Boase added: “We’re very pleased with the result and think it’s the right planning decision for Haverhill.”
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, February 13) Echo.