Campaigners will get to have their say about a controversial plan for nine wind turbines in Orby, but not until July.
Site owner Mark Caudwell appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after his application for nine-turbines on land off Marsh Lane was turned down by E Lindsey District Council.
A date for the appeal hearing had been set for April 17 but this has now been postponed until July.
Chairman of the Orby wind farm action group (OWAG), Melvyn Grosvenor, said he is concerned that one of the group’s key experts, Geoff Sinclair, was unavailable in April and his knowledge and experience was crucial in putting forward their case against the turbines.
Mr Grosvenor added that he would have taken the decision to keep the April date to a judicial review if necessary.
A letter informing all parties of the change was sent by the Planning Inspectorate on January 18, which said: “We have carefully reviewed our previously stated position and have decided, bearing in mind the particular circumstances of this appeal, to postpone the inquiry from April 17 and to ask the parties, including OWAG, to mutually agree a new date.
“This decision has not been taken lightly. Our agreement to postpone the April inquiry cannot be seen to be setting a precedent.
“Rather, we now take the view that our decision to insist on an inquiry date when it was clear that OWAG’s key landscape witness was not available was not the correct one. We regret the anxiety that our stance has caused.
“I would stress that this letter has not been influenced by OWAG’s assertion that they would seek Judicial Review of our earlier letter.”
All parties were asked to find a ‘mutually acceptable’ date.
Mr Grosvenor said: “I am very happy and satisfied that now we start with a clean sheet and we are in negotiations with ELDC and Mark Caudwell’s solicitors to set up a proper timetable from start to finish so we have proper representation.
“We are third party to the public inquiry and the most important part to that is to make sure the residents get their points heard.
“Now we can work on preparing the case carefully and thoroughly.”
Lincolnshire County Councillor for Ingoldmells, Colin Davie said: “Representations made to the Secretary of State by the County Council, our MP and members of this community have rightly succeeded as it is government policy to give full access to local people to the planning system.”
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