Wind turbine plans rejected by villagers

Campaigners have welcomed a parish poll’s rejection of plans to build a wind turbine in the heart of a scenic Broadland village.

More than 430 parishioners in Hickling, near Stalham, voted last night whether they wanted an 80ft turbine built as part of an �800,000 scheme for a new village hall.

The referendum was held at the Methodist Chapel Hall in response to the demands of a special parish meeting attended by 160 villagers last month.

At a 9pm count last night, following a 52pc voter turnout, the poll recorded 247 against the turbine and 186 for it.

The poll carries no legal weight but the parish council chairman Viv Tallowin pledged to consider the result before going ahead with any planning application for the turbine.

The council wants to incorporate the turbine in its plans as a way of generating about �6,500 a year to offset the cost of heating and lighting the hall.

However, Simon Lambard, who has helped orchestrate opposition with his wife Angela, said: “There has been real concern over this in the village. The biggest worry is that the turbine would be only 100m from the Hickling Broad site of special scientific interest.

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“Hickling is one of the few unspoiled villages, and would approval for one turbine have led to more?”

The decision also came as a relief to Gwen Gray, 88, a resident in Mallard Way, who said she had been “horrified at the thought of looking out on an ugly wind turbine every single day”.

To reinforce its case, the council had held a two-day seminar at the weekend, inviting villagers “to come and discuss the facts about the turbine”.

And in a flyer sent to homes, a council spokesman said: “Any turbine of any size causes some visual intrusion. We have taken a balanced view that the level of intrusion to our whole community is outweighed by the community benefits the turbine would bring.”

The flyer answered fears there would be an impact on house prices, wildlife or television reception.