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Revealed: £70k bill for failed wind turbine defence  

Credit:  Spalding Guardian, www.spaldingtoday.co.uk 10 November 2010 ~~

A failed defence against an appeal for seven wind turbines at Tydd St Mary’s Marsh has cost South Holland District Council almost £70,000.

The money paid for the authority’s legal representation and two expert witnesses for a five-day planning inspectorate hearing which was held in August.

A decision published last month overturned the council’s decision from earlier this year, meaning RES Renewables’ scheme at Grange Farm can now go ahead.

The £69,817 figure was revealed to the council’s development control committee as members were updated on the latest appeal decisions.

RES Renewables met their own costs in challenging the decision.

“It might be helpful for all members to consider how to approach such things in the future,” said committee chairman Roger Gambba-Jones.

“We have always said we do not like planning by appeal and we do not like being threatened with the possibility of appeal. That says to us you have to be certain of the facts when we refuse something as significant as this.

“But we do not want to be frightened off defending the communities that have elected us to look after their interests.”

He said there could be a “reality check” for the council where they will have to explain the balance between the local view and benefit for the nation from such schemes.

Coun Howard Johnson said he would have challenged the inspectors decision if it was possible without incurring further costs.

He said: “I find it amazing that someone can make the statement that 127 metre high wind turbines on a flat landscape does not fundamentally change the flat landscape’s character.

“It seems amazing that someone can make that statement and keep a straight face.”

Referring to the Government’s localism agenda he said this was a “classic example” of someone else “knowing better than the locals do”.

Coun Rodney Grocock said wind farms were “the most difficult thing” he had to deal with in planning.

“My personal choice is I hate them with a passion,” he said. “I am a Fen boy and do not like to see them in South Holland but I am realistic take a lot of notice of the planning officer’s recommendation but this is going to come back to haunt us at district council all the time.”

He said the council were “toothless tigers” and they must do what is best for their constituents.

He also claimed he would not know how to deal with wind farms when they next come up on the agenda.

Source:  Spalding Guardian, www.spaldingtoday.co.uk 10 November 2010

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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