Category Archives: News

French Drove wind farm blocked by government

Land at French Farm, French Drove - site of a proposed six-turbine wind-farm.

Planning permission for an expanded wind farm at French Drove has been blocked by the government.

The rejection of the scheme by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government comes despite recommendations from Peterborough City Council and the Planning Inspector that the turbines should be built.

His decision now means it is highly likely that plans for other wind farms at Gores Farm and Willowhall will be dropped.

The principal reason for the rejection of the four turbines at French Drove was the visual impact, so it seems the Gores Farm/Willowhall wind farm, which would comprise 14 turbines, would have no chance of clearing the planning process.

Residents opposing the French Drove expansion were lucky that the planning process was interrupted by the general election and a change of policy regarding onshore wind generation.

The turbines were originally given planning permission by Peterborough City Council, but Peterborough MP, Stewart Jackson, asked for that decision to be called in by the government, which meant a full planning inquiry had to be held.

Despite the planning inspector John Braithwaite recommending approval, the change in government policy meant that minister Greg Clark was able to go against his inspector’s advice.

Energy company REG Windpower, does have planning permission for two turbines at French Farm, French Drove and has started work on those. Bases have been installed, but work stopped when they decided to apply for permission to build four more turbines. It is now unclear whether the company will continue with the two turbines which have permission, or abandon the project.

In rejecting planning permission Greg Clark made it clear that the principal reason was the visual impact on local properties. In his written report rejecting the application, he states: “The Secretary of State notes the significant adverse impact on some residents and concludes that the adverse impacts, in his planning judgment, result in unacceptable overbearing impact on nearby property and therefore amount to non-compliance with policy.”

The minister did agree that the development had negligible impact on Crowland Abbey, Thorney Abbey or the Crowland and Thorney conservation areas. He also rejected concerns about the impact of turbines on radar systems guiding planes into RAF Wittering airbase.

“Having weighed up all relevant considerations, the Secretary of State concludes that the factors which weigh in favour of the proposed development do not outweigh its shortcomings and the conflict identified with the development plan and national policy. He considers that there are no material considerations of sufficient weight which would justify granting planning permission.”

There is still the possibility that REG Windpower may apply to the High Court to challenge the validity of the Secretary of State’s decision. They have six weeks to make that challenge.

New link road ruled out by city council

Peterborough City Council planners have ruled out a new road to link proposed housing developments in Thorney.

The Parish Council had written to city planners to ask for their support for a new road from Wisbech Road at the eastern end of the village, running along the southern edge of Thorney.

This would have linked housing estates planned at Sandpit Road and Woburn Drive. If it was continued to join Whittlesey Road, it would also open up fields behind Thorney Park for potential housing.

The decision is bad news for residents of Woburn Drive. This road will now be the only access to an estate of 80 homes.

Janet Maclennan, senior development management officer at the city council, told the parish council that it was now too late to insist on a change of access point as planning permission had already been granted for access via Woburn Drive.

“I acknowledge that the Parish Council raised concerns regarding the use of Woburn Drive at the outline planning stage. However, it was considered by officers of the Local Highways Authority that Woburn Drive did have capacity to accommodate the additional traffic resulting from the housing development.”

The development at Woburn Drive by Larkfleet Homes is expected to start at the end of this year.

A planning application for the Sandpit Road development has not yet been submitted, but is expected soon. Proposals put before the village for consultation, included a new link road from Wisbech Road, so Sandpit Road would not have to take additional traffic.

See our earlier story on this issue:

Free workshop on River Nene artwork

River Nene

The Thorney Society is staging a free workshop this Sunday so local people can contribute to a project to create a piece of artwork representing the River Nene and its various habitats.

The event is at the former Methodist Chapel by the bridge and runs from 10am to 3pm. People can drop in whenever they wish.

The idea is to get memories and suggestions to the Mapestry, an artwork which will represent the River Nene and its habitats. It is being co-ordinated by a professional textile artist working with Froglife, the national charity concerned with reptiles and amphibians.

For more information email: or call 01733 602102.

Defibrillator Awareness Evening next week

Keep Thorney Beating, the campaign to buy a defibrillator for the village, has now installed the machine at Thorney Medical Centre.

Next Thursday, September 10, there’s a special meeting at the Bedford Hall at 7pm to which everyone in the village is invited.

The evening is to explain how the machine works and how it is used. It is also an opportunity for people willing to volunteer as VETS (Volunteer Emergency Telephone Service) to find out more about that role. VETS would be notified when the defibrillator needs to be used and help make sure it’s used properly and returned safely for future use.

So far around nine people have put their names forward, but if anyone else is interested, they can contact organisers Lynn or Mick Batterbee on 270670.

Lynn is also keen to hear suggestions for where they can position signs telling people the location of the defibrillator.

“Most people in the village will know it’s at the Medical Centre, so these are probably going to be more use for people visiting Thorney. We need to find the right places, so any suggestions would be helpful.”

Wind-farm company sponsors Thorney Live Music Festival

Robbie Williams Banned

RES, the renewable energy company responsible for Wryde Croft Wind Farm, is the headline sponsor of the 20th Annual Thorney Live Music Festival.

The event takes place this Sunday (August 30), at the Bedford Hall.

RES has donated £1,500 to support this year’s festival, which will feature acts such as DB5, Sub Zero, Soul Runner, the Paul Heaton Fan Club and Robbie Williams Banned.

Thorney Live is a hugely successful charity music festival that over the years has raised £50,000 for local and national charities, ranging from the local playgroup to Macmillan Cancer Relief.

Alison Jones, Community Relations Manager at RES, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to support this fantastic local music festival, which not only provides a great day out but also helps to support so many good causes of importance to local people. RES is committed to being a good neighbour and to supporting the local communities near its renewable energy projects.”

RES is currently constructing Wryde Croft Wind Farm, to the east of Thorney. The 13 turbines are in the process of being erected and, once complete, they will be capable of generating enough electricity each year to meet the average needs of 15,500 homes. The wind farm is due to start generating electricity in 2016, triggering community benefits worth in excess of £3.25 million over the project’s operational lifetime.

Alison concludes: “We wish the organisers of Thorney Music Festival every success, and hope that record numbers will attend this special 20th anniversary event and help to raise more money for charity than ever before.”

The festival opens at 11.30am on Sunday, with the first band on at 12.20pm and the entertainment continuing through until dusk. Admission is £10, with free entry for the under-16s.

Smiley Faces Nursery rated as Outstanding

Smiley Faces

Smiley Faces Day Nursery in Thorney has been graded as “outstanding” following a recent Ofsted inspection.

“We are so very pleased to be able to share this with everyone,” said Lindsey Evans, who runs the nursery with her sister Hayley Lightfoot.

“Outstanding is the highest rating possible and one that, as a team, we have been working to achieve. We have always been so proud of the care we provide and to have this view also shared by Ofsted is fantastic.

“It’s really wonderful news; our previous reports have always been good, but this report has provided some really fantastic commentary.”

In its report Ofsted said:

– Children are treated as unique individuals at this welcoming, homely nursery

– Staff offer children very high-quality learning experiences as they have an excellent understanding of their specific learning styles and needs

– Children settle easily as they receive exceptional care and support from sensitive, intuitive staff

The nursery has been going for 17 years and was previously based at Park House in the old doctors’ surgery before moving to its current location at the entrance to Bedford Hall.

It now caters for 45 children, ranging in age from birth to 4 years. The nursery has available places and caters for 2, 3 and 4 year old funding.

Parish council would like housing developments to be linked by new road

Thorney Parish Council has said a new road should be built along the village’s southern boundary to link new housing developments.

Currently two developments are planned – Woburn Drive and Park Farm. The two are very close together, but while the plans for Park Farm include a new access road off the old A47 to avoid traffic using Sandpit Road, the Woburn development has Woburn Drive, a narrow residential road, as its only access.

The Parish Council has not objected to housing development there, but in 2013, when the initial application was made, it expressed concern over the use of Woburn Drive as the only access.

Now, in a new appeal to Peterborough City Council, they have said that a better strategy for infrastructure should be put in place. Their suggestion is for a road linking any new developments to the south of the village, perhaps also with access from Whittlesey Road right through to Wisbech Road east of the village.

In a statement, the Parish Council says it had hoped that the potential for the new Park Farm access road to link with the Woburn Site would have been more fully considered by Larkfleet Homes, which is the developer.

“We feel that such a link could, in the long term, allow the elimination of Woburn Drive as the means of access to the Woburn site other than, perhaps, as a means of emergency access.

“It is a great shame that the Woburn Site proposals seem to indicate a localised, self-contained enclave of housing that pretty much ignores, by the nature of its layout, the possibility of future development on any of its boundaries.

“Piecemeal, inward-looking planning of this kind cannot be in the best interests of the City Council’s obligations to provide good, well-planned and fully considered residential development.

“It would seem appropriate that a fundamental strategy for infrastructure for development on the south side of Thorney be put in place if the best solutions for this area are to be achieved. One of the main aspects of this could be a road that links any new development in this area. The new road proposed as part of the Sandpit Site development would be an ideal start.

“It would provide access from Wisbech Road to any new development in this area with the possibility of an eventual connection across to the Whittlesey Road.

“It would seem short-sighted if this was not given proper consideration at this stage. We are not clear otherwise as to the real need for the new road at the Sandpit site.

“We suggest that the pair of residential units immediately to the south of the lake on the Woburn Site are eliminated in order that clear provision is made in this location for the possibility of a future road connection to the site to the east.

“We are not arguing against development of this site but we feel strongly that it ought to take account of what may, in the future, take place adjacent to its boundaries.”

There are currently no further plans for housing to the south of the village, but the city council wants 250 homes to be built in Thorney. With existing developments (approved and planned) accounting for about 200 dwellings, that means another 50 homes could be built and a road linking Whittlesey Road round to Wisbech Road, east of the village, would open the way for farmland to the west of the Woburn Drive development to be built upon.

Coffee morning raises over £450

The coffee morning and clothes sale held at The Green last weekend raised more than £450.

Proceeds will be split between Something for the Solomons, a Thorney charity which raises money for a school in the Solomon Islands, and a Norfolk-based animal charity.

Margaret Fletcher, one of the organisers, said: “Thank you so much for your help at the weekend – to the people who helped with refreshments, people who gave donations and raffle prizes, those who sat in the sunshine and chatted over cake and coffee and bought on the stalls. Lives are busy nowadays and your support is heart warming.”

Turbine blades delivered to new wind farm

Turbine 2

A specially-designed lorry delivers one of 39 blades that were safely transported to RES’ Wryde Croft Wind Farm during July.

The 40m long blade was carried from the docks at Immingham to the wind farm site just east of Thorney.

RES is now beginning erection of the 13 turbines and is on schedule for the wind farm to be completed by the end of this year. Once the wind farm is fully operational, it will generate enough clean, green electricity each year to meet the average needs of around 15,000 UK homes.

Wryde Croft Wind Farm will also provide a community benefits package of £130,000 per year (indexed linked), which amounts to at least £3.25 million during the project’s lifetime.

Photo ©RES

Major new quarry planned on edge of village

Pasture House Farm

A major new sand and gravel quarry covering almost 60 hectares may be developed at Pasture House Farm, Thorney.

An application for planning permission for the quarry is about to be submitted to Peterborough City Council.

The site is south of the A47 and east of Willow Hall Lane and so sits at the other side of Willow Hall Lane to the existing quarry at Pode Hole Farm.

The plans show a new access road onto Willow Hall Lane and also allow for the screening of the site using embankments and planting. The A47 would be widened to allow a right-turn lane to be built for trucks entering Willow Hall Lane and Willow Hall Lane would also be widened as far as the quarry access.

As sand and gravel is extracted in stages, the land will be used as a dump and eventually restored to its current level so it can revert to agricultural use.

Planning documents released by the developers talk of the plan being to “permanently deposit inert waste residues into the land in accordance with modern waste management practices.”

The plans include a processing plant, concrete manufacturing centre and a recycling facility.

The life of the quarry is projected to be 20 years, with 170,000 tonnes of sand and gravel extracted each year, and a further five years needed to restore the land once quarrying is complete.

Included within the site is a Roman farmstead with associated field enclosure systems and droveways visible on aerial photographs. Roman pottery has been found in the general area. There is also evidence of a mediaeval kiln and a 16th century windmill. The old Cat’s Water River runs along the site’s western boundary.

A detailed document drawn up by the developers and including location plans can be seen here and you can see a higher-resolution image of the site plan here.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said: “This project is huge and potentially quite disruptive and will need to be studied by Thorney and Eye Parish Councils respectively.”

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