Anger at choice of turbine site

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IT WAS standing room only as almost 200 residents gave developers a grilling over plans for a wind farm in West Pinchbeck.

Many were angry at Wind Ventures’ choice of location for its latest project, which could see up to nine turbines almost as high as the London Eye.

The meeting, led by Andrew Bowser, chairman of Pinchbeck Parish Council, had to be called to order several times as exchanges became heated between residents and Wind Ventures project manager Richard Lord.

He gave a 20-minute presentation on the plans, which he said would provide local employment and put significant money into the local economy.

He showed a map of where the 125m turbines, with a blade diameter of 92m, would be located – saying their superior height to other turbines in the area made them “more elegant”.

When operational, he claimed, the turbines adjacent to The Delph would produce enough electricity to power 9,000 homes.

And he told residents there would be a chance for them to influence the final plans before they are submitted to South Holland District Council – which could happen by the end of the year – at a series of public exhibitions.

Mr Lord then faced a barrage of criticism over the perceived impact the wind farm would have on the village, including a loss of views of the open countryside and a dramatic drop in house prices.

Anthony Helcoop, who lives in Six House Bank and is a community governor of West Pinchbeck School, said he feared the turbines would have a detrimental effect on children’s education, while another resident said it would be “tantamount to cruelty” to build them next to a field where she currently keeps horses.

And Mr Lord faced accusations that the “green credentials” of building a wind farm came a poor second to the profits his company would make as a result of subsidies – paid for by electricity company customers.

Other issues including the threat to wildlife at the neighbouring Willow Tree Fen Nature Reserve were also raised.

After a one and a half hour debate, a show of hands showed only one member of the public in favour of the proposal and two abstentions.

A statement issued by Mr Lord after the meeting said: “There is always concern over any new, significant development and a wind farm is clearly no different.

“We will continue to consult with the local community about the proposed Delph wind farm and this meeting was the first step in that process.

“We look forward progressing with our application for what is, we believe, an excellent site for a wind farm.”

Sue Blake, on behalf of the Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm opposition group, said: “It was clear that people have a range of legitimate concerns about how this proposed development would impact on West Pinchbeck and surrounding areas.

“The meeting has confirmed our belief that we must all do everything we can to ensure this wind farm does not proceed.”