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We have objected to the appeal, by Stamford Renewables Ltd, against Waveney District Council’s refusal of planning permission for wind turbines and associated paraphernalia at Laurels Farm, Barsham, near Beccles in Suffolk.
The society has argued that the development would result in the widening and destruction of the ancient Clarke’s Lane which follows a narrow, winding route from the B1062 at Barsham southwards to Ilketshall St Andrew. It would also lead to the destruction of part of High Common, registered common land which is on both sides of Clarke’s Lane. The turbines would also be an eyesore for walkers and riders enjoying the tranquillity of the area.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘The Waveney Valley, with its quiet charm and beauty, is a special corner of England. Yet the developers claim that the Waveney Valley is less worthy of protection because it doesn’t reflect a true Broads landscape. This shows the developers’ lamentable lack of understanding for countryside character.
‘In order to bring the turbine components to the site, Stamford Renewables intend to bulldoze away part of Clarke’s Lane, uprooting trees and cutting a swathe through this intimate, sensitive landscape. This lovely lane, which is used by walkers, horse-riders and cyclists, as well as motorists, is part of the local history.
‘Moreover, sections of High Common, which is on both sides of the part of Clarke’s Lane to be widened, will also be destroyed. Common land is particularly special. It is an ancient land type, and these small strips of common are a feature of this part of Suffolk and should be protected, yet this gets no mention in the developer’s landscape paper.
‘Stamford Renewables propose to lay a hard surface on well over 1,000 square metres of the common. For this they will need consent, in addition to planning permission, from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, under either section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 for works on common land, or under section 16 of the Commons Act 2006 for exchange of common land, with the requirement to provide suitable land in exchange.
‘Once erected, the turbines would be an intrusion when seen from what remains of this common, as well as from other land where the public has the right to walk. They would be an eyesore from Gulls Lane bridleway, the Angles Way long-distance route and other nearby footpaths and bridleways.
‘The developers concede that there will be “significant visual effects” for path users. We consider these to be unacceptable in this quiet, unspoilt, attractive countryside on the edge of the Broads national park,’ says Kate.