Return of Hempnall wind turbine saga “deeply unwelcome”, says MP

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The MP for South Norfolk has described the re-emergence of the long-running wind farm saga in Hempnall as “deeply unwelcome” after the developer behind it lodged an appeal against the dismissal of its plans.

Energy business TCI Renewables has appealed to the High Court against Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ decision to throw out a proposal for three 126m-high wind turbines at Bussey’s Loke.

Mr Pickles determined last October the turbines “cannot be made acceptable” due to the harm to the Hempnall conservation area and overruled the recommendation for approval given by an independent planning inspector.

The High Court asked the Secretary of State to defend his decision during a judicial review of the case yesterday.

At the time of going to press, the outcome of this review has not been released.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon told the Diss Express: “It’s very disappointing that they (TCI) still think they ought to be pursuing this. We had hoped that the issue was now closed.

“It’s very clear local people don’t want it (the wind farm) and I would hope by now that TCI have got that message.

“To try to challenge the process, which I think has been followed with considerable care through the courts, is deeply unwelcome.”

If TCI do win the appeal, the planning application will go to another public inquiry at South Norfolk Council.

Opposition group Stop Hempnall’s Onshore Wind Turbines (SHOWT), which has fought against the plans for several years, states it is ready to continue their battle if the Communities Secretary’s decision is not upheld.

Carolyn Moulton, SHOWT committee member, said: “We first heard about this nine years ago and it just keeps going on and on. For now, all SHOWT can do is wait and see what goes on.

“If the decision is overturned, then at that point we will go back and do what we have done twice before.”

TCI has yet to comment. However, the company has previously claimed these turbines could generate enough energy to power around 4,000 homes annually.