TENSIONS are reaching fever pitch in a Vale village after anti-windfarm signs vanished ahead of a Wychavon councillors’ visit and a decision on the highly controversial plans due this afternoon.

The brightly coloured yellow signs have been a familiar sight throughout the Lenches ever since Scottish Power announced its plans to build a windfarm containing five turbines, on land east of Bishampton Bank, Sheriffs Lench, more than two years ago.

Members of Wychavon District Council’s development control committee – which will decide the fate of the application today – had a site visit on Tuesday but overnight before they arrived in the village of Church Lench, more than 10 signs were allegedly rooted up out of the ground and stolen.

Church Lench villager Tony Johnson said: “Under the cover of darkness, someone has come along and taken all the signs. It has happened all the way through the village. These signs have been up for ages; since this all kicked off and it has happened before.

“I would like to speak to whoever did it to find out why. They are not free so it is theft. Some of the guys have been replacing them this morning and are very upset.”

Another villager Penny Sharp said: “It is important to me as a villager to be able to air my views by putting a board up. It is just a quiet expression of my view and that has been destroyed.”

Wychavon District Council confirmed that the incident had been reported to them during the site visit. The matter was also reported to police at shortly after 10.40am on Tuesday. A police spokesperson said they were looking into the ‘suspicious circumstances’ and that the local policing team were aware of the incident.

The windfarm application is being heard at a special meeting of the development control committee in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre in Pershore, starting at 2pm. It has been recommended for refusal by Wychavon’s planning officer.