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New wind farm plan submitted

Developers behind a wind farm planned for St Mawgan, which is to face a full judicial review at the High Court, have submitted a new application for a nearly identical scheme.

Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee approved five 100-metre turbines at Lower Denzell Farm in September 2011.

Earlier this year parish councillor William Corbett launched a one-man crusade against the decision and won the right to a full judicial review of the grant of planning permission.

He argues the decision should have been taken back to committee as new guidelines on renewable energy planning applications had come into force by the time consent was granted.

The developer, REG Windpower, has now submitted an almost identical application to Cornwall Council which it says aims to “to minimise the delay” in getting the scheme built.

Mr Corbett’s solicitors have written to Cornwall Council requesting that it either determines the latest application, in light of the outstanding judicial review, and accepts the consent granted in April 2012 “must be quashed” – including payment of Mr Corbett’s legal costs – or agree not to consider the latest application while the legal proceedings are pending.

The firm said if Cornwall Council did not accept either option it would seek an injunction to prevent it from determining the latest application before the judicial review was held.

A High Court hearing date has been set for the end of November.

Mr Corbett told the Cornish Guardian: “One of the grounds of claim is that, by the time the permission was issued, the new National Planning Policy Framework had swept away a whole raft of policy statements and guidance notes on which the council had been relying. There was therefore a formal statutory requirement on the planners to take the matter back to committee for it to be considered against the relevant up-to-date policies before granting permission, and this was never done. Therefore the principle of the development has not been established.

“Counsel has advised that it would not be lawful for the council to proceed to determine the new application while the judicial review is still pending.”

The latest proposal is for five wind turbines, measuring a maximum of 100m to the blade tip, to be installed on land adjacent to the existing Bears Down Wind Farm, near St Eval.

The wind farm would generate, on average, enough electricity to meet the equivalent annual need of more than 7,000 homes.

A spokesman for REG Windpower said: “Unfortunately Cornwall Council’s democratic decision to grant permission for the wind farm is the subject of an ongoing legal challenge. This legal action is being taken against the council and its processes, not against the merits of the wind farm plans. However, it is delaying the production of much-needed renewable energy as well as financial support to the local community.

“To minimise this delay, REG Windpower earlier this year resubmitted the plans to the council.”

The legal challenge by Mr Corbett was thrown out by a High Court judge in 2012. However, a second judge subsequently permitted the case to be heard in a higher court, and this happened in March this year.

Judge Nicholas Padfield QC said that Mr Corbett’s legal team had arguable grounds for saying the council’s decision was flawed, and granted permission for the challenge to go ahead. The review has been challenged by both Cornwall Council and REG Windpower.

Cornwall Council said it was currently seeking legal advice on the matter and was unable to comment further at present.