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New blow at fresh Pulham windfarm bid

PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:48 12 July 2010

Residents who breathed a sigh of relief two months ago after it emerged that developers had pulled out of a windfarm scheme have been left stunned after another company confirmed they are interested in the site.

Residents who breathed a sigh of relief two months ago after it emerged that developers had pulled out of a windfarm scheme have been left stunned after another company confirmed they are interested in the site.

Campaigners were jubilant after it emerged that SLP Energy had withdrawn their scheme to build seven 125m high turbines at the former Pulham Airfield site.

But they were shocked to learn another renewable energy firm, Oxford-based TCI Renewables, was looking at the site with a view to putting forward plans for a smaller wind farm.

TCI Renewables confirmed that it had commissioned initial studies to establish the potential for a wind farm at Upper Vaunces Farm, Pulham St Mary, and had instigated a series of detailed environmental assessments which will establish whether the site could be suitable for a three turbine wind farm.

The company says a project of this size could provide enough green electricity to power some 4,000 homes.

TCI Renewables development manager, Gavin Clark, said: “Whilst detailed environmental studies have yet to be carried out, our initial judgement is that the site meets many of the criteria we look for in a small wind farm.”

The company said it is keen to give local people an early opportunity to comment and is distributing nearly 4,000 newsletters to homes in the area this week.

“It is too early to say whether the site could be appropriate, but we are committed to consulting fully with local people before moving ahead with a planning application,” added Mr Clark.

The announcement has met with anger from the 4Villages group, which was set up by residents in Pulham St Mary, Pulham Market, Dickleburgh and Rushall to campaign against the previous proposal.

Lucy Melrose, chairman of the group, said: “We have been trying to meet TCI for weeks. They insisted there was nothing to discuss since that there were no firm plans for the site and under pressure from us said they'd come back to us about a meeting in the next few weeks. We now discover that, while they were fobbing us off, they were preparing a scoping document to submit to South Norfolk Council, hiring a PR Company to present their case and producing a publicity pack with which to flood the area.”

The group has vowed to step up their campaign and say they will continue to press for a meeting, followed by a public meeting with residents.

In response, Mr Clark said: “We have been very open with the campaign group and have assured them that we would be happy to meet once we had the necessary legal agreements in place with the land owner to allow us to bring forward development proposals for the site. The agreement was signed only last week.”

TCI Renewables will shortly be launching a website at www.uppervaunceswindfarm.co.uk


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