Planners refuse Ongarhill wind farm

Karen Robinson with her son Ronnie Robinson (9) in the garden at Clenchwarton Hall, showing the current view. ANL-150129-112547009
Karen Robinson with her son Ronnie Robinson (9) in the garden at Clenchwarton Hall, showing the current view. ANL-150129-112547009
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Campaigners are celebrating after planners have thrown out an application to build a controversial wind farm.

Yesterday West Norfolk Council’s planning committee voted against the officer’s recommendation to approve Falck Renewables Wind bid to put up nine turbines at Ongarhill after hearing comments from nearby residents.

Among the people who spoke was mother Karen Robinson, who told last week’s Lynn News that her nine-year-old son Ronnie could go blind if the plan was approved.

She told the committee meeting that Ronnie has virtually no sight in one eye and little in the other due to primary congential glaucoma. Flicker from the turbines could leave Ronnie at risk of disorientation and the slightest knock to his head could mean he loses all his remaining vision.

Speaking after the meeting Mrs Robinson said: “I am really pleased that they made the right decision.”

Another campaigner Gerry Ryder, who also spoke out the meeting, said: “I feel fantastic. This has been going on for three-and-a-half years and I can’t believe we have actually done it.”

Project manager for developers Coriolis Energy Cath Ibbotson told the meeting that the project had been re-designed following initial community consultation and could save 23,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Janet Denton, of Terrington St Clement, spoke out in favour of the application while West Norfolk councillor Peter Cousins discussed concerns that the turbines would impact on the fighter pilots path to the bombing ground at RAF Holbeach. He discussed the “belligerence” of Vladimir Putin” and recent Russian incursions on UK airspace.

The impact of the 127 metre turbines on the wildlife and Lynn’s heritage sites were raised by borough councillors Sheila Young and Lesley Bambridge.

Norfolk county councillor Alexandra Kemp said: “These will be gigantic. They will swamp the area and are not appropriate.”

Committee member Avril Wright expressed concerns on the impact of the turbines, which could generate power for 9,800 homes, on Lynn’s historical areas.

She said: “This is going to provide a small amount of electricity for a small amount of homes and cause maximum disruption for the people who live in the area.”

Elizabeth Watson expressed concerns about the turbines impacting of the view of Lynn’s historic quarter while Geoffrey Wareham said Norfolk residents could not be persuaded to give up their countryside for wind farm applications.

North Lynn councillor David Collis said: “For the sake of the community, for the sake of Norfolk itself, there can be no place for this proposition here today.”

Paul Foster proposed that the application be turned down on the grounds that it would cause substantial harm to the character of the landscape. The proposal was seconded by June Leamon.

He said: “I believe we should put people at the heart of decision making.”

A total of 13 councillors voted for refusal.

West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham was pleased with the meeting’s decision.

He said: “At a time when we already have over 1,000 wind farms in The Wash and along the Norfolk and Lincolnshire coast, it makes absolutely no sense to locate small clusters of on-shore wind farms in our beautiful countryside.

“There can be no denying the fact they produce disappointingly low levels of energy, but do a huge amount of damage to our beautiful environment.”