Turbines now part of Kessingland landscape

STANDING 126m high, they together create an eye-catching new twin landmark south of Lowestoft.

Motorists on the A12 and people at Kessingland and the neighbouring village of Gisleham certainly cannot fail to notice the two giant turbines that have gone up at the Africa Alive! wildlife park and on nearby farmland.

But, even before they begin generating power, the twin structures are again dividing local opinion, with some people praising them and others branding them an unwelcome blot on the landscape.

The turbines were finally completed this week as the huge blades were lifted on a crane and mounted on the second of the two structures, having been driven up the A12 last week on a slow-moving convoy.

Work is now under way to prepare them to generate power from mid-June.

Even before they were built, the turbines had long been a talking point.

Between 2007 and 2009 protesters tried to halt the application seeking planning consent to build the towering structures.

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But in April 2009, after appeals and hearings before a planning inspector and deputy high court judge, the main objectors, the Benacre Estate and Gisleham Parish Council, finally lost their fight.

After the first turbine was put up last week, several people contacted The Journal to complain about what they consider an eyesore.

Brian and Marlene Soloman, who live in Black Street, Gisleham, wrote in to suggest that the Africa Alive! turbine should be named 'Kessie' – as it appeared to be as monstrous as its elusive namesake in Loch Ness.

In their letter, they call on local people affected by what they call 'this shameful development' to join them in applying for a reduction in their council tax bill because of the effect they fear the turbines will have on property prices.

Terry Bullard, who also lives in Black Street, voiced his annoyance that the turbines had blighted Gisleham's picturesque views.

The 67-year-old retired coach driver, said: 'I have heard some people say they are not really intrusive. I would suggest they come here and go to the foot of Snab Hill and see them.

'They are just overwhelming and overpowering. You step out of your house and boomph! – they are in your face. Don't get me wrong: I am not against turbines. But these ones are just in the wrong location.'

However, Kessingland reader Ray Hirst, who in the past worked on building nuclear reactors, welcomed the arrival of the green-energy generators.

One of the turbines has been installed in the Africa Alive! secondary car park, where it will raise funds for the wildlife park, including a possible eco-energy display centre, depending on the amount of energy it produces. The other is on farmland closer to the A12.

They have been constructed by Triodos Renewables with the support of renewable energy project developer EcoGen under a joint development agreement with Lowestoft company SLP.

Together they should generate electricity equivalent to the needs of 3,000 homes.

Triodos also owns the landmark Gulliver turbine at Ness Point – which stands at exactly the same height. The company insists it always sought to engage with communities about its plans and says it is helping to protect the environment by installing turbines.

A spokesman said: 'We are steadfast in our view that sensitive, sustainable alternative methods of energy generation are needed and should be implemented with the engagement of local commun-ities for the benefit of all.'

Now, what do you think of the turbines? Should we welcome them or not? Write to Postbox, The Journal, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft, NR32 1NB or email max.bennett@archant.co.uk Postbox – Pages 20-21