Bodham wind turbine plan suffers High Court setback

A planned Bodham wind turbine has suffered a setback after a High Court ruling A planned Bodham wind turbine has suffered a setback after a High Court ruling

Friday, February 14, 2014
12:48 PM

A long-running bid to put a wind turbine in rural north Norfolk has suffered a setback - after council planners won a High Court challenge against the scheme’s approval.

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North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick who has welcomed the High Court decison over the Bodham wind turbine planNorth Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick who has welcomed the High Court decison over the Bodham wind turbine plan

But the farming family behind the project is vowing to battle on to get the 86m turbine built at Bodham near Holt despite the blow.

Father and son John and David Mack’s Genetec green energy company is seeking to put the turbine, which would generate power for 600 homes, at Pond Farm.

They were turned down by North Norfolk District Council in August 2012, but won a planning appeal last year.

However the council took the decision to the High Court where a judge has ordered the government to rethink its approval of plans,

Deputy judge Robin Purchas QC found that the government planning inspector had performed a flawed balancing exercise when weighing the energy benefits of the turbine against the impact on surroundings.

Today, Friday, he ruled that the inspector had failed to give the “special regard” required over the impact it would have on the setting of listed buildings, including Bodham church, Baconsthorpe Castle, and Barningham Hall.

The government was ordered to pay the council’s costs. The matter will now have to be reconsidered by a different inspector, and the council hopes it will be rejected.

Council leader Tom FitzPatrick welcomed the decision which validated the original decision - when officers said the “significant change” to the landscape outweighed the relatively small amount of electricity the turbine would produce.

It also vindicated the council’s determination to pursue this case to the High Court.

He added: “The decision is good news for the local community, the environment and the tourism economy of North Norfolk as a whole.”

Mr Mack said they felt the high court decision was wrong and would be seeking to fight on to get the turbine built - at “a great site with very high wind speeds” - through further action in either the planning or court process.

■For the full story see tomorrow’s EDP.

3 comments

  • This decision has certainly aroused debate on twitter.

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    The Green Owl

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

  • The decision is good news for the local community, the environment and the tourism economy of North Norfolk as a whole.

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    Hugh

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Whilst NNDC may have been successful in the court, there does seem to be an inconsistent approach by NNDC when it comes to deciding when to appeal and when not. NNDC certainly gives the impression that it is happy to take on the 'little man', but when it comes to taking on big business it adopts a different attitude. On 18 February 2012, the EDP carried an article titled "North Norfolk District Council warned it cannot afford controversial Dudgeon windfarm cable appeal". In that article, Councillor Eales made it clear that setting the money aside would be felt for years to come and Councillor Ivory went on to say that the money was not in the budget to defend an appeal by then owners Warwick Energy – a company who in September 2011 had a net worth in excess of 9 million pounds. However, those inconsistencies are not only in respect of who NNDC is prepared to take on in the courts using money from the public purse. NNDC is also inconsistent in its approach when it wants to make public the level of opposition to an application. On 13 May, NNDC wrote of its decision to appeal against the Planning Inspector regarding the proposed wind farm at Bodham. In its own press release NNDC made it clear that approval of the turbine, as proposed, flew in the face of the will of the local community etc. However, in the case of the Ryburgh Lorry Park, NNDC remained remarkably quiet about the level of opposition. Clearly, in this case it did not suit NNDC to mention this and would argue that level of opposition not being a material consideration until the offshore wind turbines stopped turning. Well if that is the case, why mention it unless it suits a particular purpose. There is even an inconsistent approach from NNDC when it comes to tourism. The Cabinet Member for planning was quoted in the EDP on 14 May in respect of Bodham Wind Turbine which is on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He said "there has been a lot of dismay and amazement at the inspector's decision, and the council was under a legal obligation to protect and enhance the AONB, and anything that could hamper tourism". Another NNDC inconsistency? Great Ryburgh is not only on the edge of County Wildlife sites, one of which - Pensthorpe contributes greatly to the North Norfolk economy, but it does have of course have the River Wensum SSSISAC flowing right through it. Surely, NNDC was and is under the same legal obligation to protect and enhance the SSSISAC and anything that could hamper the tourism industry generated around it - from the much larger scale Pensthorpe to the twitchers that visit the North Norfolk Coast, staying in Ryburgh at the Blue Boar Inn. Perhaps, its just convenient to use localism or will of the people when it suits.

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    The Green Owl

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

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