A Northumberland farming family’s bid to put a wind turbine on its land has been scuppered by a judicial review for a second time.
Father and son John and George Barber at Brackenside Farm near Berwick last year saw their planning approval for the engine quashed after Northumberland County Council admitted making errors in the handling of their application.
Their proposal was subsequently approved by the authority a second time, but now that second approval has been overturned too after the council again admitted making errors.
The two reviews have in total cost the authority over £17,000, but the Barbers last night spoke of their frustration that their efforts to become carbon neutral had been thwarted again.
The man who sought both judicial reviews voiced his hope that the council would learn from its mistakes and the authority said measures have been put in place to prevent further mishaps.
John, 59, and George, 33, were given approval for a 100kW turbine by the county council last February, in line with an officer’s recommendation.
But Andrew Joicey, who farms at Cornhill and who had objected to the application, sought a judicial review of the council’s handling of the proposal, listing eight points on which he believed it had erred.
The authority accepted either fully or in part five of the areas raised by Mr Joicey. The permission was quashed by a high court judge, with the council agreeing to meet Mr Joicey’s costs of over £10,700.
The Barbers’ application was subsequently redetermined by the council, and approved a second time in line with officer advice. Mr Joicey again sought a judicial review, this time citing five areas in which he believed the council had made mistakes in relation to its handling of the application. The council has this time conceded it was wrong in two of those areas, meaning the permission has been quashed by the high court a second time. Again, the authority has to pick up Mr Joicey’s costs, in the region of £7,000.
The Barbers have voiced their anger at having to spend time and money working on their proposal, including paying an agent and for expert advice.
George accused the council of “complete inefficiency”.
He added: “The application has been approved twice, and each time opponents have put us through the judicial review process, costing the council tax payers of Northumberland over £17,000. We are trying our best to make our farm carbon neutral.”
Mr Joicey welcomed the decision and said he had no wish to put the council to any cost or cause trouble for the Barbers, although he insisted they were “wrong” in seeking to erect the turbine and that it was proposed in the wrong place.
A council spokeswoman said: “The planning permission for the wind turbine has been quashed following a further judicial review challenge. There were some procedural errors in the planning process concerning statutory consultation requirements and also noise monitoring conditions.
“Measures have been put in place to rectify these issues. Officers are working closely with the applicants to progress the application to a timely decision.”
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