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Queries by protestors put wind farm on hold

A controversial planning application for a wind farm has been quashed after campaigners started a legal battle.

Banks Developments had been allowed to start work on four 125-metre turbines at Lambs Hill Farm, near Stillington, but the latest development has resulted in the project being halted.

Lambs Hill Action Group asked for the planning application to be reviewed after it raised concerns about how the decision was made by Stockton Borough Council.

They have now received confirmation that the application has been quashed, but have been warned that the plans for the turbines will be resubmitted for consideration.

Tom Kirby, spokesman for the group, said: “We were delighted when we received confirmation that the council had quashed its decision to grant planning permission for the wind farm.

“We had taken legal advice to have it reviewed and submitted nine issues that we felt the council needed to address.

Our understanding is that the decision has been quashed, but the developer is likely to resubmit the application.”

Earlier this year, the group had called on the Department for Communities and Local Government to overturn the ruling, but it decided that the scheme, between Darlington and Stockton, did not need further investigation.

However, after the campaigners submitted a number of technical queries for judicial review, the council has quashed its planning committee ruling.

Carol Straughan, Stockton Borough Council’s head of planning, said: “Having received a claim for a judicial review on a technical point, the council has consented to the quashing of the planning permission with a view to it being resubmitted back to planning committee for a redetermination.

“We will contact any person who made a representation on the original application so they may attend any future meeting where the application will be discussed.”

Phil Dyke, development director of Banks Renewables, said: “Given that the Lambs Hill wind farm proposal successfully passed the committee stage of the planning approval process just a few months ago, it is very disappointing that it is now going to have to repeat this process on what is effectively a very minor technicality.

“While we will, of course, fully abide with these new requirements, the delays we are now experiencing are causing a great deal of unnecessary costs to be incurred by the local authority at a time when public expenditure is already greatly stretched.”