Agenda item

Bradenham: Land at Wood Farm, Church Lane: Erect 2 100m wide turbines, access tracks, crane pad areas, electricity sub-station and temp construction compound: 3PL/2011/0854/F

To consider the application following the site visit. 


Please note: This application will be the first to be considered for determination after the meeting start time of 9.30 am.


Michael Horn, Solicitor to the Council was present for this Agenda item only.


The application had been deferred from the Planning Committee held on 9 July 2012 to allow Members to attend a site visit held on 27 July, 2012 where the area had been pegged out to show the site of both the old application and the new one. The Principal Planning Officer presented the report, which was for the erection of 2 x 100m wind turbines, access tracks, crane pad areas, electricity sub-station and temporary construction compound, outside the Settlement Boundary.  A previous application (3PL/2002/004/F) was refused on 17 December, 2002, as was 3PL/2004/0313/F on 4 January 2005.  The application was recommended for approval, subject to conditions.


Mr Reading, Bradenham Parish Council, stated that power lines were obscured from view from the brow of the hill.  He read out the distances for 25 properties in Bradenham Parish that would encircle within 1500m of the turbines.  The turbines would be audible in bedrooms at night.  Wood Farm land was unsuitable for industrial wind turbines in any position.


Mr. Hinchliffe, Supporter, stated that the proposal had met concerns, with the imposition of conditions, and that CANAS would be delighted if the application was approved.


Mr. Hill, Objector, spoke as a farming neighbour to the west of the application site, and represented workforce and tenant families, all of whom were opposed to the application.  Noise and shadow flicker would be a constant intrusion both at work and home.  Environmentally, the area was very special, as it had been set aside in memory of his son and would be a haven for wildlife.


Dr Hoare, Objector, stated that the application failed to comply with Breckland’s Windfarm Policy, and that Ecotricity were aware that problems would be caused due to the close proximity of houses.


Mr Kite, CATS, Objector (Campaign Against Turbines in Shipdham & Bradenham), confirmed that the blimp had been “inked in” onto photographs shown to Members during the presentation, and with regard to the detrimental effects the proposal would have, he made Members aware of a report produced by Dr Christopher Hanning on sleep disturbance and wind turbine noise.


Mr Muir, Applicant, stated to Members that the key consideration related to impact on the landscape and in this regard, any difference in the proposed scheme to the one that came before it previously.  He believed the proposed development would not have an overbearing affect or harmful impact on the area and would comply with the ETSU noise limits.  No further turbines could be located on the site.


Mrs Turner, Ward Representative, explained that the village had been under a cloud of uncertainty for 10 years.  Two large turbines would physically and aesthetically affect Shipdham.  Access, construction and ongoing maintenance movements would have a detrimental impact. However, from personal correspondence received and at Parish meetings, there were a number of residents who supported the application for alternative energy at this site.   She spoke about the NPPF and that the tranquillity of the landscape, along with health and wellbeing which would be disrupted and disturbed.  The proposal should be rejected for the wellbeing of the community, as nothing had changed in essence for 10 years.  The village needed closure and should be left to be a united thriving community.


Mr Carter, Ward Representative was present to represent Members of Bradenham Parish Council and to express their continued opposition of the development.


The Principal Planning Officer clarified for Members’ benefit that the document, Wind Energy Development – A Statement of Breckland Council Policy, was now not formally part of the Development Plan and therefore carried limited weight in the determination of the application.  He also explained why blimps tended not to be used as a useful and realistic tool in the assessment of landscape impact in these types of applications.


In answer to a question raised about  ETSU-R-097, the Breckland Council’s Noise Consultant, Mr Davis, explained that it was the primary national guidance for noise levels.  However a Member was concerned about a “one size fits all” policy with regard to noise.


The recommendation for approval was not supported.


Reasons given to refuse were on the grounds that it would adversely affect the landscape, that this was a very special tranquil area, the proximity of the dwellings was too close, and more account should be taken of local public opinion, the recent reports which spoke against the proximity of wind farms to residential dwellings, along with the comments made by CPRE Norfolk. 


Members were then given advice by Michael Horn, Solicitor to the Council. 


Extraordinary lengths had been taken to look at the noise issue and the Council’s Noise Consultant did not support a refusal on noise grounds.  At the site visit, the area had been pegged out to show the site of both the old application and the new one, and Members considered that the application would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the landscape.


As noted in the report, CPRE Norfolk concluded that the visual effects of the turbines proposed would be both significant and detrimental to the landscape of Shipdham and the surrounding countryside, near and far, and a Member stated those were the basis of objection.


A new proposal was made and seconded to refuse the application on landscape grounds only.


RESOLVED that contrary to the recommendation of Officers, the application be refused on landscape impact grounds only.


Michael Horn and Mr Davis, left the meeting.

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