Barsham wind turbine fight goes to high court

Waveney MP Peter Aldous.February 2014.Picture: James Bass

Waveney MP Peter Aldous.February 2014.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

​Opponents against a Barsham wind turbine will be returning to the high court next month to appeal against a public inspector's decision.

The controversial application to build a 125-metre high wind turbine on land at Laurels Farm in Barsham, near Beccles, was turned down by Waveney District Council in March, but was given the green light in April by a planning inspector after an appeal by developers Stamford Renewables.

Now Barsham resident Benji Howell, who lives 500m to the east of the proposed turbine, is challenging the decision in the high court, supported by the parish council and a number of local residents and land owners.

The case, which was opened and adjourned in July, will be heard on October 28 and 29.

Mr Howell said: 'We've had so much support from the local community, our MP and the local authority and we are stunned that even after all that support one inspector's decision can completely override it.

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'After battling it for seven years we had to have a look at the decision and we sought a lot of advice. Given the advice that we got, we launched a statutory appeal on the grounds that the inspector's judgment was legally flawed.'

Mr Howell will be required to give evidence at the case along with the developer and the secretary of state.

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A decision could be given on the day or it could take up to three months.

Mr Howell said: 'We never thought for a moment that it would go on for so long, but I think we have got a very strong case.

'What we are most worried about is that if one turbine gets approved the spell will be broken and the argument for adding more will be much more persuasive.'

Earlier this month during a Westminster debate, Waveney MP Peter Aldous called for the decision to be quashed and said the concerns of the community had not been listened to.

He urged cabinet minister Eric Pickles to consider the case under his power to look at a planning decision himself.

Local government minister Stephen Williams would not give an overall assurance that the decision would be quashed, but said he would take the concerns to Mr Pickles.

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