Two wind turbines erected in Golant, which sparked anger in the village, face an uncertain future after the High Court overruled an appeal decision to allow them to be built at South Torfrey Farm.
Cornwall Council had refused planning consent for the 21m-high structures, but applicants Simon and Debbie Andrews were allowed to erect them after a government planning inspector ruled in their favour.
Now the High Court has quashed the decision of the inspector after a successful challenge by neighbour Richard Cooper. The turbines are sited within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a mile from the Iron Age fort at Castle Dore.
Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, did not contest Mr Cooper’s court challenge.
The High Court ruled that planning inspector Anthony Thickett was wrong to insist that the visual harm caused by the turbines to the grade one listed St Sampson’s Church and the grade two listed farmhouse owned by Mr Cooper would be “less than substantial” and he failed to give sufficient weight to the adverse effect the turbines would have on the buildings.
The wind turbines have been erected within the past two weeks to power electricity for the Andrews’ farm and holiday lets. Their appeal will now be heard again by the Planning Inspectorate.
The installation of the turbines has caused anger in the village, and a parish council meeting last night was due to discuss what can be done about the situation.
Simon Andrews admitted few people in Golant supported the turbines, but felt renewable energy was the key to making the family business more viable. “We are an organic farm and simply wanted to make our business more sustainable by following government policy on renewable energy.
“Obviously we are disappointed with the decision of the High Court, and we now have to wait for our planning appeal to be heard again,” said Mr Andrews.
Resident Richard Strode, a former parish councillor, said: “There is a lot of anger in the village that these turbines have been erected despite the High Court’s decision. If Cornwall Council decides to do nothing, then it will simply give others the incentive to place turbines wherever they like without recourse.”
Cornwall Council said yesterday its hands were tied until another planning appeal takes place.
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