Eric Pickles to have wind farm final say

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Latest News from the Diss Express,, @diss_express on Twitter

Secretary of State Eric Pickles will have the final say on plans to build three 126m-high wind turbines in Hempnall.

Planning permission is currently at appeal, with the hearing due to start at South Norfolk Council on Tuesday, lasting for about two weeks.

It means that the planning inspector will now simply make a recommendation based on hearing the evidence on both sides. It is Mr Pickles who will have the final say on the plans at Bussey’s Loke, put in by Oxfordshire-based TCI Renewables.

Representations were made by South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, who has long opposed the plans, and Hempnall Parish Council, to the Department of Communities and Local Government, led by Mr Pickles, to “call in” the decision.

Campaign group Stop Hempnall’s Onshore Wind Turbines (SHOWT) has welcomed the decision. Hilary Battye, spokesman, said: “SHOWT feels that the decision needed to be made on a bigger stage.”

South Norfolk Council heard the plans for the turbines in January. The planning committee voted 7-4 in favour of refusal. But the decision was made knowing the plans were going to appeal anyway, under a ‘non-determination’ rule where South Norfolk Council had not made its decision within a statutory time frame.

But TCI states the project would generate enough power for nearly 4,000 homes annually.

On its website TCI state it “remains confident” it is a good site for a wind farm.