*This blog is an edited version of one published by Hockerton Housing Project, to present the full history of renewable energy in Hockerton, and its pioneering role in community energy.*
Following five years of planning applications, Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning committee backed the Hockerton Housing Project’s latest bid to erect the electricity generating wind turbine at its meeting.
The proposals, which have divided opinion in Hockerton, were approved by the narrowest of margins – the committee finding in favour of the turbine four votes to three, with one abstention.
Residents of the project have been seeking approval for the scheme since January 1995 and have seen three applications fail.
An appeal to the Department of the Environment against the rejection of their application in August 1995 was dismissed on the grounds the turbine would be an eyesore.
But Mrs Trudi White, a Hockerton Housing Project resident, said the mood at the development was now jubilant.
“It is just fantastic. We have struggled for so long for this, but we have continued because we believe it to be the right thing to do.”
Mrs White said the residents needed to raise £10,000 to build the turbine but they hoped to have it in place on Mystery Hill next year.
“What I hope is that, in time, a lot of the concerns will be alleviated.”
At last week’s planning meeting the turbine plan was criticised by the committee’s Conservative members.
Mr Keith Sheppard (Con) said although the Hockerton Housing Project residents would benefit from the turbine, it would be at a cost to other locals.
“It is going to be catering for them but at a price for the village. This structure of 80-odd foot only benefits five houses. If it was going to supply the village I could understand it, but it is not,” he said.
But council leader Mr Stan Crawford (Lab), chairman of the Newark and Sherwood Energy Agency, strongly defended the turbine plan.
“It is about the future, not only of their families, but others and the wider community and, in fact, the planet.
“I think there is a lot of fear of the unknown. We are talking about the final piece of the jigsaw in a very innovative project.”