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Anger as two turbines built in area of outstanding beauty after High Court ruling

A bitter row has erupted in Cornwall after a landowner erected two wind turbines in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) despite a High Court ruling which quashed the planning permission.

Consent for the renewable energy scheme, at South Torfrey Farm, Golant, was refused by Cornwall Council last year after concerns by landscape campaigners and English Heritage over the location, close to Castle Dore, an Iron Age fort.

A subsequent appeal by Simon and Debbie Andrews was then upheld by a planning inspector in July, just days after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles had issued new guidelines to give more weight to local opposition.

Last week, neighbour Richard Cooper, of Llanheriot Farm, won a High Court decision against the Planning Inspectorate after Mr Pickles’s department chose not to defend the decision.

But in the days following the written ruling, the couple went ahead and put up the two 50ft masts, which will generate 20kW each for their farm and holiday lets.

Simon Andrews admitted few locals supported the turbines, but felt renewable energy was the key to making the business more viable.

“We are an organic farm and simply wanted to make our business more sustainable by following government policy on renewable energy,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Andrews said the masts were small and dismissed the dissenting voices in the village, adding: “It is a load of retired people who have got nothing better to do.”

Resident Richard Strode said the community was “extremely angry” that the owners had “chosen to disregard” the judicial ruling.

“We sincerely hope Cornwall Council acts quickly but getting them to do so is not the easiest thing in the world,” he added.

Planning Inspector Anthony Thickett, said in his decision that he didn’t feel the turbines would impact on the setting of heritage assets at St Sampson’s Church and Lanherriot Farmhouse.

But the Queen’s Bench Divisional Court in Bristol overruled him and quashed the decision last Tuesday.

A spokesman for Cornwall Council said: “Cornwall Council treats all unauthorised development very seriously.

“However the consequence of the recent court case means the Planning Inspectorate will need to reconsider the planning appeal and not with the local authority.

“While we have set up a planning enforcement case we are unable to take any further action until the Planning Inspectorate has made this decision.”

A spokesman for the Planning Inspectorate said they were yet to receive the “sealed order” from the court.

“The High Court did quash the decision which means we will need to make a redetermination,” he added.