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North Norfolk council taxpayers will fund expensive legal challenge, wind farm developers claim as appeal confirmed

Opponents claim the wind farms will ruin views at beauty spots including Selbrigg Pond. Picture: Ian Shepherd

Opponents claim the wind farms will ruin views at beauty spots including Selbrigg Pond. Picture: Ian Shepherd

Archant

A long-running wind farm debate in north Norfolk is set to be dragged out further after a council announced plans to appeal against a decision made by the Planning Inspectorate.

Selbrigg wind turbine. The view north-west from Baconsthorpe. Pictures: Francis Feilden, Selbrigg Generation Ltd Selbrigg wind turbine. The view north-west from Baconsthorpe. Pictures: Francis Feilden, Selbrigg Generation Ltd

North Norfolk District Council has announced it will apply to the High Court in a bid to quash a decision to allow two wind turbines to be built.

Following a public inquiry, the inspector decided to overturn NNDC’s refusal of planning permission for the schemes: a turbine at Pond Farm, Bodham, submitted by Genatec with a maximum tip height of 66m; and Selbrigg Generation’s application for a turbine with a maximum tip height of 78m at Selbrigg Farm, Hempstead.

Local authority leader Tom FitzPatrick said: “The proposed wind turbines would detract from the unique landscape of this beautiful area and destroy its tranquillity.”

Sue Arnold, NNDC’s cabinet member for planning and planning policy, added: “Our view is very much that we do not need onshore wind turbines, which among other impacts can damage the local tourism economy.”

An earlier application by Genatec for a 86.5m-tall turbine was rejected by NNDC in 2012, approved by a Planning Inspector on appeal but that decision was overturned in the High Court in February 2014.

The Planning Inspector’s decision to allow both applications was based on the view that the environmental benefit of the renewable energy development demonstrably outweighed the environmental harm that would be caused to the landscape character, visual amenity and heritage interests.

In a joint statement, Francis Feilden, the Selbrigg applicant, and Genatec, the Pond Farm applicant, said: “The council’s decision will mean that NNDC council tax payers will fund an expensive legal challenge against the national tax payer-funded Planning Inspectorate, with the turbine planning applicants on the side-line.

“We will have to wait to hear what the council’s reasons are before we can respond properly, but are disappointed to learn that yet more tax payers’ money will be spent challenging a decision that the Secretary of State is in favour of, and many local people support, that would generate not only green electricity but also business rates for the district, while other public services are being threatened with cuts

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