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Residents' concerns over windfarm plans

PUBLISHED: 10:27 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:40 06 July 2010

Residents of an award-winning village say they are fighting to hang on to their quiet, thriving rural community as they face the prospect of living with a wind farm on their doorstep.

Residents of an award-winning village say they are fighting to hang on to their quiet, thriving rural community as they face the prospect of living with a wind farm on their doorstep.

Westhall Wind Watch has been set up to fight plans for five wind turbines near a Bernard Matthews facility at Holton, near Halesworth.

The turbines would stand on the eastern half of Holton's disused airfield between the Southerton and Westhall parishes.

The plans have been submitted as part of Bernard Matthews' multi-million pound scheme to power its East Anglian production plants with green energy.

Westhall was runner-up in this year's Suffolk Village of the Year competition. It has also been voted Waveney Village of the Year and Suffolk county winner twice previously, as well as being this year's county winner for wildlife and open spaces.

Adrian Simpson-James, on behalf of Westhall Wind Watch, said the plans for the turbines on the southern edge of the parish “would change the character of the area for ever.”

He added: “It is ironic that Westhall should be judged so highly as a rural community, praised especially for its contribution to wildlife and open spaces, yet faces the threat of being overshadowed by a vast moving mass of industrial machinery.

“This is the thick end of the wedge of industry being driven into the heart of rural Suffolk and it is totally unacceptable.”

Group members are mounting a challenge to the application and claim that the developers have glossed over vital evidence that the wind farm will have a detrimental effect on aspects of the local environment and the well-being of people living less than a mile away in Westhall.

Mr Simpson-James said: “We support the principle of renewable energy, but demand that this project is thrown out as an unnecessary blot on the landscape, one that will ruin our village and surrounding countryside, contribute next to nothing towards the region's renewables targets and bring no benefits whatsoever to voters in the Waveney district.

“We have been told that this is a planning matter only, and that judgment on the quality of landscape and life for local people is not a reason for the plans to be rejected, as the area 'is just a pretty bit of countryside like many others.'

“We disagree; the villagers disagree, the parish council disagrees, and we hope that Waveney District Council will do the same.”

A Bernard Matthews spokesperson said last night : “We fully respect Westhall Wind Watch's right to raise their concerns. However, we have presented clear and accurate data to the planning committee and will await their decision.”


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