Villagers celebrating after wind turbine plan turned down by councillors

WHOOPS of joy, shouts and rapturous applause greeted a council decision to turn down plans for a wind farm at Tydd St Giles this afternoon.

The council chamber at Fenland Hall was packed for the planning committee meeting, with nearly 50 campaigners against the plan forced to stand to hear the debate.

As councillors arrived for the meeting they were met with placards and banners waved by members of FenRATS – Fenland Residents Against Wind Turbines – and other protesters.

Several councillors spoke out against the turbine proposal during the meeting – despite a recommendation by officers to approve it. A letter from MP Steve Barclay also opposed the plan.

After the decision was announced, FenRATS treasurer Michael Coleman said: “This is one up for the people of the Fens. We have had enough of this, it is about time wind turbine companies stopped ruining this landscape and causing hardship to local people who have to live with them.”

FenRATs treasurer John Lock added: “We are extremely relieved, common sense prevailed and our homes are safe.”

Wind Ventures Ltd wanted to build four 126 metre-high turbines at Treading Drain, and another two turbines were planned for an adjoining site under the jurisdiction of South Holland District Council.

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Councillor Belinda Francis of Tydd St Giles Parish Council – who lives just 665 metres from the site - spoke emotionally against the plan, worried that her epileptic daughter would be affected by the flicker and noise from the proposed turbines.

She also told the planning committee: “It is my view that this plan will ruin our village. To take the Fenland landscape away from us is a form of theft.”

After the meeting, Cllr Francis said: “It is just fantastic, we have worked for two years to oppose this plan. I am over the moon, it shows that having a local voice does work and I want to thank the planning committee for their support.”

Steve Russell, whose home is the closest property to the proposed turbine site, said: “I am exceptionally pleased with the decision. The council has given this a lot of thought and listened to local people.”

Councillor Steve Tierney told the committee that allowing the turbines would “break the heart of a village,” and said the turbines would be “a blight on the landscape.”

Chairman of the council, Councillor Mike Humphrey, told councillors: “You must consider those people who will be affected most, and don’t dismiss it as acceptable.”

Councillor Jan French proposed the committee refused the plan, because it did not meet council policy, and because of its adverse visual impact.

Representing Wind Ventures, Richard Lord said the wind turbines would bring benefits, including �500,000 to a community fund over 25 years, business rates of �50,000 a year, local employment and the scheme would benefit enough electricity for 6,000 Fenland homes.

More than 20 supporters of the scheme were also in the council chamber, identified by their badges that declared: “Yes to Wind.”