‘I would fight on’: Anger as council ends turbines legal battle
PUBLISHED: 15:07 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:07 17 March 2020
A council has ended its legal battle against plans to build two controversial wind turbines near the north Norfolk coast.
The proposals for the turbines between Sheringham and Holt were given the go-ahead last month by the Planning Inspectorate after years of battles between developers, residents and North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), which tried to have them stopped.
But the council said it would no longer continue its legal battle against the plans, which will see a 66m turbine built at Pond Farm, Bodham and a 78m turbine at Selbrigg Farm in Hempstead.
The planned sites are around 3km away from each other, and although separate companies are behind each, Paul Griffiths, from the inspectorate, considered them both together.
A NNDC spokesman said: “Despite strong objections from the council and local residents, who argued against the turbines on grounds of the harm to landscape, heritage assets and wildlife would not be outweighed by the comparatively limited renewable energy benefits, the Planning Inspectorate has upheld its original decision to allow both turbines.”
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Leader of the council Sarah Bütikofer said: “We are extremely disappointed by the decision of the Planning Inspectorate in the long battle to oppose these applications.
“We have taken legal advice from counsel who have advised us during this eight-year fight that a further challenge would have no prospect of success.”
The council’s decision was criticised by North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker, who said: “I do not agree with ending the legal process - I would fight on.”
In reaching his decision, Mr Griffiths concluded that “while the proposals would cause some harm in terms of landscape character and visual amenity, the overall impact of the wind turbines would be limited”.
He went on to state he disagreed that many heritage assets would be affected and, in his view, only Baconsthorpe Castle complex would be affected by both turbines and Barningham Hall only affected by the Bodham turbine.
However, while harm was identified to these highly-graded heritage assets, the inspector concluded the public benefits of renewable energy generation would more than outweigh the harm identified.