December 19, 2013

Green light for Wooler wind mast

Berwick Advertiser | 19 December 2013 |

Controversial plans to erect a wind turbine close to ancient monuments and historical sites in Wooler are set to go ahead after a campaigner lost his last-ditch bid to halt the development.

Landowner Robert Tait plans to install the 18m tall turbine on land next to his home, just 750m from the site of the Battle of Homildon Hill, which was recounted in Shakespeare’s Henry IV.

He was granted permission by Northumberland County Council in January, but objector, John Lancashire, took the case to the High Court in a challenge to the legality of the council’s decision.

Mr Lancashire, of White Gables, was concerned about the impact on the landscape and the plethora of historical sites near to Mr Tait’s home at Highburn House Caravan Park.

Delivering judgment on Mr Lancashire’s claim for judicial review, High Court judge, Mr Justice Blake, threw out his case, paving the way for the plans to go ahead.

Challenging the grant of permission as “unlawful”, Mr Lancashire’s barrister, Richard Harwood QC, pointed to a string of alleged deficiencies in the council’s decision-making process.

In advice to the planning committee, the council’s planning officer had failed to mention that the site was in an area categorised as “high sensitivity” and so deserving of greater protection, he said.

But Mr Justice Blake dismissed every last one of the grounds of challenge, saying the conditions relating to noise were “lawful” and “capable of effective enforcement”, while any visual harm which might be caused to the monuments was “minimal”.

He added: “This was a case where a planning judgment had to be exercised about the impact of the development.”

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