Councillors said they faced a catch 22 situation in deciding to support campaigners’ fight against plans for a wind farm on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Last week, the Planning Inspectorate rejected plans for six 125m high turbines at Baumber, near Horncastle, after a public inquiry.
But now East Lindsey District Council has revealed the full cost of fighting the plans – about £53,000 so far, with total bills of about £84,000.
The authority’s joint deputy leader Councillor Dick Edginton said though they were ultimately pleased by the outcome of proceedings, they wished firms would, in future, take more notice of local feeling and planning decisions.
He said: “While the right of appeal is an important one, councils and communities don’t have endless pots of money to fight major developments that would potentially spoil the character of the area.
“In the case of Baumber, we’re likely to have spent £84,000 fighting the appeal in partnership with local people and, while we are delighted with the outcome, we’d rather the company Enertrag had taken on board our views and not progressed this so we could have used the money to support local services.”
Lincolnshire County Council also admitted it had been forced to spend money dealing with the application when there was a chance it could impact on one of Lincolnshire’s most prized environmental assets.
Spokesman for the council Ethan Thorpe said: “We spent £7,000 in view of concerns about how the plans could affect the Lincolnshire Limewoods, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty.”
Melvin Gosvenor, chairman of the Baumber Wind Farm Action group, which has opposed the wind farm proposal from the outset, said he felt the situation was “perverse”.
He said: “The council was put between a rock and a hard place.
“It was put in an invidious position by the developer appealing before they’d determined on the application.
“I think in these situations both the council and action groups who have had to spend almost £120,000 fighting this should be awarded costs against the energy company.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding