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Campaigner’s anger at wind farm ‘U-turn’

Campaigners have made a formal complaint against a council over its ‘handling’ of a wind farm planning application.

Brian Skittrall, chairman of Bozeat and Lavendon Oppose the Turbines (BLOT), feels Wellingborough Council has performed a ‘U-turn’ over planning consent for the Nun Wood turbines.

The council has already refused planning for the site, but this was overturned by the Secretary of State and given approval.

The High Court then quashed the consent on a ‘technical’ point surrounding noise.

However, the authority denies it has done a ‘U-turn’ and said it is not ‘re-running’ its arguments about the planning decision but hopes the technical point is this time addressed in the inquiry later in the year.

In his letter Mr Skittrall said: ‘As you will be aware, BLOT has been a representative voice against the above development since the first application back in 2006.

‘We have worked closely with all the local communities to convey their voice, concerns and objections to this application and also liaised with the three planning authorities of Bedford, Milton Keynes and Wellingborough as the application has progressed.’

He added: ‘Thus it came as a complete surprise to us when we discovered just days before the closing date for the latest Statements of Case that Wellingborough had, without advising any interested parties whatsoever, adopted a completely new position effectively granting the application subject to conditions although without actually doing so via a formal planning meeting.’

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We have not performed a U-turn. Our position has always been clear. We have always supported opposition to the application, right the way through to the public inquiry, and that position has not changed.

“What seems to have been 
misinterpreted is that it was the Secretary of State’s Inspector’s decision to approve consent to the wind farm that was challenged, and the court’s decision to quash the consent was based on a very narrow technical point.

“As a consequence of that we’ve decided not to support a re-run of the arguments that had been accepted by the courts, but to make sure that the reason for the decision to be quashed relating to the condition about amplitude modulation noise is properly addressed this time. We believe that this is the most pragmatic and sensible way to proceed.

“We are disappointed in the way that Mr Skittral has interpreted the council’s actions, we strongly refute his claims, especially taking account of the relationship he has had with the council’s chief 
planning officer which he has acknowledged.

“Now the pre-inquiry has been held we are preparing a response to his formal complaint.”