Still no final decision on windfarm

A controversial scheme to build three wind turbines in the centre of the test track of Norfolk car manufacturer Lotus looks set to be turned down. South Norfolk Council area planning committee last night refused the proposal on the grounds of visual intrusion.

A controversial scheme to build three wind turbines in the centre of the test track of Norfolk car manufacturer Lotus looks set to be turned down.

South Norfolk Council area planning committee last night refused the proposal on the grounds of visual intrusion.

However, as the decision was not carried by a two-thirds majority, it now stands deferred to the council's main planning committee for a final decision on July 23.

The application had been tipped for approval after a U-turn by the Ministry of Defence.

Initial concerns that the 120m structures at Hethel would cause “unacceptable interference” to the air-defence radar at RAF Trimingham 32 miles away prompted district planners to reject the proposal submitted by Lotus's project partner Ecotricity in October 2007.

But the MoD withdrew its objection in March after a detailed reappraisal which found the effect on radar performance at Trimingham to be acceptable. This led Ecotricity to resubmit the application.

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Key concerns of residents who spoke at last night's meeting included visual impact on the landscape, noise disturbance, detrimental effect on wildlife and homes and potential interference with the nearby Tacolneston TV transmitter.