HEMPNALL PARISH COUNCIL  

Newsletter – Autumn 2006

 

Hempnall is facing the prospect of some large scale developments. The Parish Council has therefore decided to circulate a copy of its newsletter to all residents. which is usually available only on the internet at www.hempnallpc.org or the parish council notice board and in Hempnall Stores.

 

PROPOSED WIND FARM

 

Thank you to all members of the public who attended a recent meeting on the issue of wind turbines. The unprecedented turnout of about 10 per cent of the village population enabled the parish council to obtain a good cross section of views.

 

There have been a number of misunderstandings about the purpose of this meeting, some of which were reported in a recent edition of the Diss Mercury. To clarify matters a copy of a letter sent to the local Lib. Dems. is reproduced below. 

 

“To: The South Norfolk Liberal Democrat Party

 

I am writing in response to the October 2006 edition of the South Norfolk Liberal Democrats newsletter which you have circulated recently amongst the villagers of Hempnall, in particular your front page report on the wind turbine issue.

 

It is not the intention of Hempnall Parish Council to allow our consideration of Enertrag’s proposal for a seven-turbine wind station development in the north east of the parish to become a party political matter.  Your misleading comments seek merely to obtain political advantage by attacking other political parties.  This proposal is far too significant for the people of Hempnall and the surrounding area to be brought down to the level of party politics.

 

I believe your article demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the issues surrounding the recent Public Meeting in Hempnall: - both the reasons why the meeting was called by the Parish Council and also why Enertrag was not invited to that meeting.

 

The true facts of the matter are these.  Enertrag UK Limited requested a private meeting with Hempnall Parish Council to discuss their proposal. Having carefully considered the matter, Hempnall Parish Council decided that this was wholly inappropriate for an issue of such magnitude and arranged for a public meeting to be held instead.

 

The sole purpose of this public meeting was to enable residents of Hempnall parish - plus members of peripheral parishes who are likely to be affected by this significant proposal - to air their views, both positive and negative, and express their possible concerns.  This purpose was very clearly explained at the outset of the meeting, making your comments that the Lib Dems are “concerned to get people’s opinions rather than tell them what to think” all the more misleading.

 

Enertrag was not invited to the meeting partly because of its obvious commercial interests, but mostly because the Parish Council wanted the entire meeting free to be devoted to the views of parishioners. 

 

I would also advise you of a serious factual error in your newsletter.   The maximum height of the proposed turbines is not 85 metres as you state but 130 metres.

 

Your report has served to undermine the efforts of Hempnall Parish Council to bring this issue to the attention of local villagers. I believe that there was enormous value in the meeting itself which had an unprecedented attendance of 120.  Furthermore, the quality of discussion was excellent, culminating in a 90% vote against the wind turbine proposal, with 3 people in favour and the remainder abstaining.  The residents of Hempnall proved themselves more than capable of expressing their views on this important issue.

 

Yours faithfully

Geoffrey J Moulton

Chairman of Hempnall Parish Council”

Continued overleaf….

 

Proposed Wind Farm Scoping Document

 

As a consultee in the planning process Hempnall Parish Council has an opportunity to raise issues for consideration as part of the scoping document for the wind turbines' proposal.

 

The seven turbines will be spread over a large area of countryside and each could reach a maximum height of 130 metres (433 ft - 113 ft higher than the spire of Norwich Cathedral). They will have a very significant visual impact on the landscape  not only in Hempnall but also in neighbouring parishes and beyond.

 

The parish council will be asking for a number of issues to form part of the environmental impact assessment process. These will include:

·        visual impact

·        affect on local rights of way

·        noise pollution

·        affect on vegetation and wildlife

·        light pollution

·        impact of the construction infrastructure (roads etc.)

·        affect on rural tranquillity in an area that is relatively remote and unspoilt.

·        affect on the quality of life of near neighbours

·        shadow flicker

 

The Parish Council has been informed that Enertrag has already entered into agreements with local landowners regarding the siting of the turbines.

 

Hempnall School Extension & Proposed Housing Development

 

The Parish Council supports the extension of  the village school and recognises the great benefit it will provide to the education of Hempnall children. The Parish Council has suggested some amendments to the school extension design which it believes will make it fit better in to the conservation area in which it is to be built. We do not consider that these adjustments should hold up the planning process unduly and hope to be able to view the amended proposals positively when they are presented for planning consent in November.

 

Norfolk County Council  however is encountering problems with acquiring the land that is required for the school extension. They have informed Hempnall Parish Council  that a company called County and Metropolitan has entered into an agreement with the landowners to promote various pieces of land in Hempnall for development. These pieces of land include the school playing field and the field immediately to the north (which is located behind Old Market Way). 

 

The County Council says, " negotiations have become difficult in that County and Metropolitan, although not planning to develop the present playing field for housing, are tying the development of the land to the north of the playing field to the development of the school." They go on to state, " clearly as a County Council we cannot become involved in any deal that would imply that we are supporting such a housing development in exchange for land (for a school) being given to the Authority. Such a housing development proposal must stand on its own merits and be determined by the District Council."

 

Hempnall Parish Council has existing clear policies regarding housing development within the village and they are:

1) That the development boundary of the village shall not be extended.

2)  That there should be no large scale housing developments in the village.

3) That small scale infill developments, within the current development boundary, are acceptable.

 

These policies were adopted by the parish council as a response to proposals made by landowners as part of the South Norfolk District Council LDF review and are aimed at protecting the local landscape and environment.

 

We believe that Hempnall is currently an ideal size - large enough to have  good services but small enough to function well as a community.

 

Furthermore the Parish Council, as a matter of fundamental principle, is against the development of the school being linked to the granting of planning permission for housing on adjoining land.

 

INFORMATION AND YOUR VIEWS

 

Hempnall Parish Council will continue to keep parishioners informed of developments relating to Enertrag's proposals, Hempnall school and housing applications. We will continue to consult widely with parishioners to ascertain your views.