June 28, 2012
by Brian Daniel, The Journal | www.journallive.co.uk 28 June 2012
A Northumberland farmer who had has planning approval for a wind turbine quashed has been assembling it regardless.
Sinclair Robson, who farms near Berwick, has been putting the turbine in place, despite a High Court judge in London having revoked Northumberland County Council’s granting of planning permission.
The council sent officials to his farm on Tuesday night. They discovered the unauthorised work after it had been reported by local residents.
The authority is now writing to Mr Robson ordering him to stop work until such time as he has been granted permission.
Last night, the man whose legal challenge led to the permission being quashed said he was “surprised” and “puzzled” that the farmer had ignored the high court’s ruling.
Mr Robson, of New Haggerston farm, was granted permission by the council’s North area planning committee in February, in line with an officer’s recommendation.
The decision came despite objections from local residents, including Cornhill farmer Andrew Joicey.
Mr Joicey then sought a judicial review of the decision, and the council’s approval of two other single turbine applications, accusing the council of procedural errors.
The authority conceded it had erred in some areas and accepted that the High Court in London should quash the permissions. It also agreed to pay Mr Joicey’s costs of over £10,000.
The High Court subsequently revoked the approvals, meaning the council would have to re-determine the applications.
Mr Robson and the two other farmers should therefore not have carried out any work on their turbines until such time as they were given new approval.
The Journal was contacted by Mr Joicey who had been informed by people in the area that they had seen a large crane erecting a turbine at Mr Robson’s farm.
Following the complaints, the council sent a planning officer to New Haggerston on Tuesday night, who discovered that work had started to put the turbine base in and the tower itself.
A spokesman said yesterday: “We will be writing to the developer today asking them to stop work until we have determined the planning application.”
Mr Robson’s son Andy last night said neither he nor his father wished to comment.
Mr Joicey said: “I am very surprised to hear that this turbine is being erected. I have not seen it myself, but have already had calls from people who were shocked to see it and who are puzzled as to why it is being built when planning permission was revoked.
“The legal action that was taken to the High Court was against the council, for not carrying out full and proper procedure in the process that led to the granting of planning permission.
“There was no legal challenge to the applicants.
“It was clear to me and a great many other people that the council was at fault on a number of issues in the planning process relating to this and other turbines, and that it was dangerous to allow such a precedent to be set, especially in connection with something as visible and controversial as wind farms and wind turbines.”
And Mr Joicey added: “There would seem to be an assumption that because an application is for a single turbine, or that it is ‘on a farm,’ there is no need for it to be scrutinised to the same degree as a larger application. This is clearly not correct.”
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