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New row over Conisholme wind farm  

There has been a new twist in the Conisholme windfarm controversy.

Because of continuing anger about how the planning application was handled, the District Auditor is to be asked to carry out a full investigation.

The decision to seek a new independent inquiry was made at a tense special meeting of East Lindsey District Council.

It represents both a determination of members to establish the facts and an apparent breakdown in trust between some of them and planning officers.

ELDC passed the plan which will see 20 wind turbines built at Conisholme.

Coun Julia Pears warned the council’s planning department risked being ‘taken over’ by an external authority unless it improved.

Similar disqueit was sounded by executive board member Coun Colin Davie who described the council’s processes as ‘flawed’.

He went on: “Some of our practices have brought shame to the council – they must never be allowed to happen again.”

During the forthcoming investigation, the auditor is likely to quiz senior officers – those who have not left the authority – as well to examine correspondence and other documents.

He will particularly want to establish why certain crucial information was witheld from the planning committee – a move which may have affected the outcome of the application

The council has already spent £30,000 on one inquiry – by law firm Pinsent Masons – which criticised officers but found no evidence of bias or improper conduct.

ELDC’s chief executive Nigel Howells has already issued a statement accepting mistakes were made and promising to implement extra training for officers.

By Charles Ladbrook

Louth Leader

21 December 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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