Wind farm foiled family’s Italian dream

ON HOLD: Life stood still for the Russell family (from left) race star George, Steve, Allison, Cara and Jamie. SG161013-122NG
ON HOLD: Life stood still for the Russell family (from left) race star George, Steve, Allison, Cara and Jamie. SG161013-122NG
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A family was days away from selling a six-bedroom home to start a new life in Italy when a wind farm wrecked their dream.

Steve and Allison Russell were selling up so their karting champion son, George, could race more easily in the home of his chosen sport.

The house sale was coming up to the exchange of contracts in 2010 when there was an application for a weather mast – a forerunner of the Treading Field wind farm that has just been thrown out after a fierce fight by residents of Sutton St Edmund and surrounding villages.

Steve (58), an active member of the protest group, FenRats, said the application for the weather mast turned up when their buyers’ solicitors were doing the search.

He said: “We were contacted by the estate agent and he basically informed us there was no point in having this property on the market while this application was going through – it would be almost impossible to sell.”

The family spoke to other estate agents and all said their home was unsaleable because of the wind farm plan.

Steve said: “For three to three-and-a-half years, basically, we haven’t been able to do anything at all.

“We didn’t want to invest more money in the property if it became worth a lot less. We couldn’t plan forward so our lives have stood still. There’s been a lot of pressure, a lot of worry, a lot of concern.

“We were thinking about down-sizing as well. It has been a very difficult period in our lives.”

The Russells are one of a number of families whose house moves were stopped in their tracks by the Wind Ventures bid to site six turbines the size of Salisbury Cathedral in their midst.

Secretary of State Eric Pickles threw out the application largely because of the overwhelming impact it would have on three homes.

Steve said he thought it would be “a fantastic celebration” when decision came through – but he felt numb.