March 8, 2013

Campaigners win High Court fight against wind farm

By David Brennan | Published on Friday 8 March 2013 | Northamptonshire Telegraph |

Leading conservationists have won a High Court battle against plans for a wind farm they warn will result in substantial harm to a heritage area “of national significance”.

English Heritage and the National Trust say the case has national implications.

They supported East Northamptonshire District Council’s successful legal bid to block proposals submitted by West Coast Energy for four 300ft (91m) turbines on farmland at Barnwell Manor in Sudborough.

The manor is owned by the Duke of Gloucester, the Queen’s cousin, who is not directly involved in the challenge.

Mrs Justice Lang ruled at London’s High Court today that the decision to give the go-ahead was legally flawed and must be quashed.

The judge ruled there had been a failure by a public inquiry inspector “properly to interpret and apply the relevant planning policies on the effect of development on the setting of heritage sites, which meant that the balancing exercise was flawed”.

Quashing approval of the wind farm, the judge ordered that the proposal should be reconsidered in the light of her judgment.

The ruling is being regarded as an important victory by conservationists. They are concerned over the impact the wind farm would have on local panoramic views, and in particular the setting of Lyveden New Bield, a 17th-century lodge which has one of the finest surviving examples of an Elizabethan garden in the country.

The conservationists had warned that if they lost the case the protection of other important historic sites around the country could be undermined.

National Trust representative Mark Bradshaw said later: “We are delighted with the outcome.

“We hope this brings to an end a five-year battle to preserve and protect the important setting of some of our most significant heritage assets.

“Lyveden is of international importance. The harm to heritage assets like Lyveden should be weighed against the benefits of wind farms.”

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