Council set to reject wind turbines for Haddenham but Government minister Greg Clark is expected to have final say in the matter

Protestors meet at Berry Fen, in Haddenham.

Protestors meet at Berry Fen, in Haddenham. - Credit: Archant

The decision over whether three wind turbines should be erected in Haddenham could be taken out of councillors’ hands after it was announced that the plan has been referred to the Department for Local Government.

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee will consider an application from REG Windpower for three 125m tall turbines in Berry Fen, between Haddenham and Aldreth, on July 1.

The council’s planning officers have recommended that the plans be refused because of their potential impact on the landscape and on the heritage of the village.

But the decision could be taken out of the council’s hands because of a request made for the plans to be considered by the Secretary of State for Communities, Greg Clark.

Mr Clark will decide whether he wants to consider the decision himself before any decision made by councillors can be considered binding.

Penelope Mills, district council planning officer, says in her report: “The case officer has been advised by the Department of Communities and Local Government that there has been a request for the application to be ‘called-in’ by the Secretary of State. “A decision on the application cannot be issued until it has been confirmed that the

Secretary of State does not wish to call-in the application.

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“In the event that the application is called-in, the decision of the planning committee will become a recommendation to the Secretary of State.”

The applicant, REG Windpower says it will set up a community fund worth thousands of pounds every year to Haddenham and Aldreth if the wind farm is approved.

An online campaign group in favour of the turbines, Say Yes to Berry Fen Wind Farm, has attracted more than 200 followers.

But there has been a significant local objection to the plans, with hundreds of villagers registering their concerns with the district council. The Ministry of Defence has also raised concerns about the possible impact of the turbines on the flight path of aircraft using Cambridge Airport.

In her recommendation to refuse the plans, Ms Mills said: The proposed wind turbines would become the dominant feature of the landscape, and the once prominent ridges viewed from Dam Bank Drove, and Hill Row and Feasts Green, would no longer be read as the defining features of the landscape.

“The loss of the three Oak Trees on the southern boundary of the site would further increase the adverse effect on the landscape character. There would also be a significant adverse effect on visual amenity in the area, with a number of individual properties and viewpoints experiencing significant effects.”