There was frustration as a planning appeal hearing for a controversial wind turbine application was adjourned – with the planning inspector calling for a formal inquiry.
Councillors blamed the planning inspectorate for “bad administration” and “not organising the hearing efficiently”.
Dozens of residents attended the hearing, which was called to consider an appeal by farmer Andy Paton against the decision made last year by Bolton Council’s planning committee to reject his application to build a large turbine at his farm in Turton.
The committee had previously rejected the plan to build the 66-metre structure on green belt land at Birches Farm by a narrow margin of 10 votes to eight in July, 2012.
Mr Paton was aiming to contest the decision – only to be informed by planning inspector Elizabeth Ord, that a new date must be found for an inquiry.
The decision came about after David Manley QC, representing the West Pennine Protection Trust, applied for the hearing to be adjourned and replaced with a formal inquiry.
He said: “We are concerned that there will be a lot of technical noise based evidence presented and we don’t want to get into an on-the-hoof debate about noise issues as that would be unfair.”
He also cited the fact that the technical evidence alongside the large number of people wanting to speak would mean that the hearing would not be completed in one day.
The planning inspector decided that, due to a number of factors, she would alter proceedings to a formal inquiry.
But Bradshaw ward councillor Mudasir Dean said this represented “bad administration on behalf of the Planning Inspectorate”, adding: “They should have allowed two or three days for this.
“It will cost the local authority and the other interested parties a lot of money.”
Cllr Walter Hall added: “It’s not the fault of the inspector or the council, but those who have organised this hearing have not done so efficiently.”
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