Wind farm approval dissapoints residents of rural Suffolk village

PAWF Ltd received on Wednesday (5 Oct) planning approval for six turbines each standing 100m (328ft) in the Suffolk village of Parham despite strong objections from local residents and English Heritage.

The deelopers now have three years to start the development which has been given a maximum lifetime of 25 years.

The turbines with a combined capacity to generate 7.8MW, enough to power 4047 homes, will be located at the former airfield in Parham.

The Development and Control Committee of Suffolk Coastal District Council ignored the recommendations of English Heritage, nine local councils and more than 500 residents in arriving at its decision to grant permission.

The councils and organisations that submitted objections were:

• Suffolk Preservation Society;
• Great Glemham Parish Council;
• Marlesford Parish Council;
•  Parham Parish Council;
•  Hacheston Parish Council;
•  Little Glemham Parish Council;
•  Rendham Parish Council;
• Stratford St. Andrew Parish Council;
• Sweffling Parish Council

The Council officers voted by 14 to 1 to dismiss their objections on the grounds that government targets for renewable energy must be met.

These outweighed the considerable negative impact on the local area through gross visual domination, and the harm to domestic amenity because of increased noise for local residents.

John Constable, chairman of the local residents group NO Windfarm At Parham (NOWAP) said: “The officers and committee members have betrayed local people and made a mockery of local democracy, and consultation.

“In their presentations and in their debates it was clear that the neither officers nor councillors had a clear understanding of any of the issues, and one senior councillor lowered the tone of these serious proceedings with an off-colour joke.”

Many local residents now fear that the planning approval will have a detimental effect on the value of local properties with one local home-owner saying he had been informed that his “house may now be difficult to sell” and the value may have fallen by as much as 35%.

“Those that live closer to the site are even worse off.  Many of them are now looking at cases of negative equity,” he added.

Ivan Jowers, chairman of the development control committee said: “National planning guidance makes it clear that this district should be playing its part in encouraging more renewable energy sources.

“The weight of the government’s planning advise gave us little alternative but to approve it, but I am proud that we have imposed many conditions that seek to minimise as much as possible the impact of the development on the local area.”

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