A company which abandoned an appeal hearing over a council’s refusal to allow two wind turbines has been forced to stump up the authority’s wasted costs.
Bowler Energy LLP withdrew its appeal for land south of Burnaston Lane, Etwall, just a day before the hearing, and now South Derbyshire District Council has won an application for costs it incurred in resisting the appeal.
Bowler Energy lodged the appeal against the district council’s failure to decide on the wind turbine plans within the prescribed time period.
Steve Parsons, on behalf of the Secretary of State, noted ‘the Secretary of State can award appeal costs against any appeal party whose unreasonable behaviour results in the late cancellation of a hearing, so that expense incurred by any of the other parties is wasted.’
The appeal was to be determined by written representation but for the public to express their views, the planning inspector agreed with the council to an informal hearing.
Meanwhile, residents group, BERATE, had questioned the appeal’s validity regarding landownership, stating there could be a judicial review challenge. A request from Bowler for hearing to be adjourned to minimise the risk of challenge, was dismissed.
However, a day before the hearing, the company said in an email: ‘To avoid any judicial review challenge to any decision made on the appeal, we would like to withdraw this appeal.’
In conclusion, Mr Parsons said the company withdrew their appeal because they believed the procedural validity of the appeal could be successfully challenged at the hearing.
He added they withdrew the appeal in favour of a resubmission so all parties would ‘avoid the risk of incurring unnecessary costs of attending the hearing if the inspector decided the appeal was invalid.’
However, the Secretary of State says the planning inspector was satisfied landownership, questioned by BERATE, had been rectified.
The appellant also added that the work undertaken by the council is not wasted expense as it could be reused in any future appeal. However, the inspector said no appeal had been lodged so this was just hypothetical.
The council and Bowler Energy will now reach an agreement on costs.
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