Community to wait for rural turbine decision
08:00 24 January 2014
A north Norfolk community will have to wait for a decision on whether a single wind turbine will be built after the planning saga was taken to High Court.
North Norfolk District Council put in the challenge against a government planning inspector who approved the application to build the 86.5m structure at Pond Farm, Bodham.
It asked Mr Justice Purchas, sitting in London, to quash the inspector’s decision.
The judge has reserved his decision in the case following a day of legal argument on Wednesday.
He will give a judgment in writing at a later date but no date has been fixed.
In August 2012 the council’s development committee unanimously refused the turbine application by David Mack, part of the family-run firm Genatec.
A planning officer’s report concluded the turbine would harm the setting of historic assets including Baconsthorpe Castle, All Saints’ Church in Bodham, St Peter’s Church in North Barningham and Barningham Hall.
The inspector overturned the decision at a planning appeal in April last year.
He decided the combined effect on heritage assets would be “less than substantial” while there would be a large public benefit from renewable energy. He found the public benefits did outweigh the harm.
Challenging that decision in court, Estelle Dehon, representing the council, argued the inspector failed to give proper weight to the development plan for the area and failed to give proper reasons for departing from it.
Daniel Kolinsky, defending the decision on behalf of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, claimed the inspector found the proposal did accord with the development plan overall, and the council’s argument to the contrary was “erroneous”.
The council’s cabinet decided to take the case to High Court in May last year.
Mr Mack said: “It is disappointing that the council did that because we felt the inspector’s report was well written and well thought out.”