Formal approval for bigger blades on wind turbines planned for a former airfield site has been put on hold after legal issues were raised by objectors.
Suffolk Coastal District Council acknowledged yesterday that a continuing campaign by opponents of the six-turbine Parham wind farm had forced it to take another look at the legal issues involved in an application to increase the size of the turbine blades.
Councillors voted in July to approve larger turbine blades than described when the £3million project received planning permission last year.
However, it was left to officers to ensure that a number of conditions were met before the formal notice was issued.
The No Wind Farm at Parham (NOWAP) group claimed yesterday that its legal representations had “put the granting of permission for a bigger wind farm at Parham on hold”.
Lawyers had argued that the application to increase the blade length of the turbines at Parham had not been correctly handled by the district council, claiming that the law required a new and full application, including a Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
NOWAP claimed that the council would be acting illegally if it granted permission on the present basis.
The council’s head of planning had assured the development control committee that the local authority’s handling of the application was legal, and the committee resolved to grant planning permission.
NOWAP yesterday sent letters to all members of the council committee, inviting them to instruct officers to reject the present application.
Dr John Constable, NOWAP chairman, said: “Throughout, we have willingly supplied our findings on the legal status to the planning committee for consideration, but unfortunately the officers did not accept the advice.
“We hope that elected councillors are now prepared to take proper control of the situation and ask the developers, if they wish to proceed, to make a full new application and Environmental Impact Assessment, as is legally required.”
A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said: “What is currently under discussion is not a bigger wind farm, but a request for larger wind turbines, which councillors agreed to in July subject to a number of conditions being met by the applicants.
“NOWAP’s continuing campaign is requiring us to step back and consider some of the detailed issues their legal team have raised. Councillors will be fully updated on the progress at a future meeting of the development control committee.”
James Townsend, project manager for Your Energy, the developers, said he had no comment to make.
By David Green
25 September 2007
No Wind Farm At Parham (NOWAP): nowap.co.uk
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