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Funds fail for turbine plan

PUBLISHED: 17:35 15 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:02 12 July 2010

The leaders of a community centre in Palgrave criticised a government quango after falling at the final hurdle to secure funds for a wind turbine project.

The leaders of a community centre in Palgrave criticised a government quango after falling at the final hurdle to secure funds for a wind turbine project.

Palgrave Community Council was shortlisted earlier this month to receive £60,000 from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) to help generate electricity at their village hall.

But officials from the community group spoke of their “considerable disappointment” on Friday after being told that they had not been successful in securing the grant as part of the Cut Your Carbon competition.

The news puts the future of the Palgrave Community Centre, near Diss, in doubt, which already spends more than 20pc of its income on fuel bills.

Chris Shillinglaw, chairman of the Palgrave Community Council, criticised EEDA after the budget for the Cut Your Carbon scheme was slashed from £600,000 to £200,000.

“It is like buying a raffle ticket for a holiday to the Caribbean and it turns out that the prize is actually the Isle of Mann. We are very disappointed that we did not proceed and we are disappointed with the way they [EEDA] managed the project.

“We now need to gather our thoughts and decide how we are going to press ahead. The community centre serves people from four years to 94 years and we are not prepared to see it disappear into nothingness,” he said.

Proposals for the 18m high 11kw turbine at the edge of the community centre's playing field, off Rose Lane, had prompted some objections from local residents about its visual impact.

Mr Shillinglaw said the community council was now inviting villagers to put forward alternative suggestions to help make the centre self-sustaining. However, he did not rule out the wind turbine plans, if an alternative source of funds could be found.

Adrian Wilmshurst, who lives near the site at Lows Lane, said he was pleased that the “monstrosity” of the proposed wind turbine was not being built for the time being.

“We are relieved for the moment that the turbine will not be erected, but we do hope that the positive thing that comes out of this will be that the whole village can work together to support the community centre in finding an efficient way of meeting their electricity needs that will be acceptable to all the people in the village,” he said.

An eco-friendly heating project at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Norwich and a community scheme in Othona, Essex, were the two schemes that received funding.

Phil Spiby, spokesman for EEDA, said Palgrave Community Council had done “very well” to become a finalist and it was unfortunate the Cut Your Carbon budget had been “reduced considerably” because of the current economic environment.

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