Stretham residents rejoice as Red Hill Farm wind turbine application is FINALLY refused thanks to unanimous council decision

Red Hill Wind Farm refused, celebrating (l-r) Lesley Goad, Paddy Goad, and Councillor Bill Hunt,

Red Hill Wind Farm refused, celebrating (l-r) Lesley Goad, Paddy Goad, and Councillor Bill Hunt, - Credit: Archant

Four hundred members of the Stop Stretham Wind Farm Group celebrated a year long campaign as councillors unanimously refused an application to erect a pair of 102 metre high wind turbines near Ely.

How the proposed wind turbines at Stretham would have looked

How the proposed wind turbines at Stretham would have looked - Credit: Archant

Farmer Chris Attle was not present as the 11-strong East Cambs District Council Planning Committee outlined their reasons for refusing his bid for the two turbines.

Planning officers said the Red Hill wind farms would be “of an overbearing nature” resulting in a loss of light in neighbouring properties.

They added that it should be refused “to protect the significant character and design of the neighbourhood.”

If accepted, the turbines would have been almost double the height of Ely Cathedral.

Councillor Anna Bailey said the turbines would increase noise pollution, erode agricultural enterprise and have a negative effect on social mobility.

She added: “Contrary to policy, environmental and amenity impacts cannot be minimised.”

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Bill Hunt, district and county councillor for Stretham, further outlined a number of reasons why he opposed the plans.

“The turbines will be over 1.5 times the height of Ely Cathedral, a threat to the safety of aircrafts using Mitchell Farm airstrip and a distraction to drivers on the A10.

“The noise will have a damaging effect on the health of nearby residents and the site will affect social mobility.

Planning officer Julie Barrow listed cultural heritage, visual amenity and opposition from the local community for rejecting the application.

The report suggested the turbines and their size would appear as “discordant and distracting elements” on the skyline when viewed from Ely Cathedral and a number of the town’s other heritage assets.

In relation to aviation, it states that “operators of Mitchells Farm Airfield have raised concerns in relation to the impact of air turbulence on the stagey of light aircraft.”

Additionally, referring to traffic and transportation, it is said “the construction phases are likely to have a significant impact on local roads” and “this has not been fully investigated by the applicant.”

Regarding the effect on the landscape and visual amenity “the introduction of two wind turbines of the size and scale proposed, together with the associated infrastructure, would have an urbanising effect and would significantly change the character of the area.

Among objectors were:

•Haddenham Parish Council who had “serious concerns” about the impaired view of the cathedral, noise and impact on wildlife.

•Soham Town Council concerned about “visual impact”.

•Waterbeach Parish Council complained of “excessive height” and problems with air safety.

Wentworth Parish Council complained about “adverse impact on house prices”.

•Ministry of Defence feared the “turbines will be detectable by and will cause unacceptable interference” to radar at Cambridge airport.

•Highways Authority had access issues.

•English heritage feared impact on not only the cathedral by Denny Abbey farmland museum and Stretham Engine “due to their setting”.

•The local conservation officer said the environmental study was “wholly inadequate”.

However some local councils – including Wicken, Witchford, and Burwell- had no objections.