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Resident’s legal challenge forces council to quash turbine consent

A council has been forced to withdraw planning permission for a controversial wind turbine after a protestor highlighted flaws in how the application was handled.

South Hams District Council has been forced to revoke permission for the wind turbine at Chivelstone Cross, near Kingsbridge.

And it will have to pay the £10,000 legal costs of local resident John Casson, who enlisted environment law experts Richard Buxton Associates after the application for a 20-metre turbine got the green light in February.

They wrote to South Hams District Council, telling them that an environmental impact report should have been called for and considered.

Mr Casson said: “I am very concerned that the planning application process has not been followed correctly and that is totally unacceptable.

“Chivelstone and the surrounding area is a public amenity and determined as one of outstanding natural beauty.

“The area depends heavily on a strong tourist industry which benefits the whole community, including farmers who have diversified. This wind turbine can be seen for miles around and undoubtedly has an adverse impact on the environment.”

At first, the council denied that it was at fault in the planning process, but after Mr Casson’s lawyers threatened a Judicial Review, the authority sought advice and then conceded that it should have requested an environmental impact report.

A consent order has now been agreed, and the legal action has been withdrawn. South Hams District Council has been forced to withdraw the planning application and has agreed to pay Mr Casson’s legal costs of £10,000.

Mr Casson said: “At a time when councils need to save money, a large amount has already been wasted in legal costs, both mine, largely paid for by the council, and theirs – ultimately a cost the taxpayer will have to bear, as a result.”

A spokesman for South Hams District Council, said: “Permission for the wind turbine has been quashed after the council agreed to a Consent Order.

“The council has acted to minimise legal costs and we accept that, on this occasion, we did not apply the correct tests in the initial part of the planning process.

“The court did not rule on the planning merits of the development. We apologise for the error.

“The planning application for the wind turbine is due to go back to the development management committee for reconsideration.”