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Wind turbine battle costs council £80k in legal fees

A Nottinghamshire council has spent almost £80,000 on legal costs in a long-running battle with campaigners over the building of a wind turbine.

The 66m (217ft) structure between Woodborough and Calverton was erected after Gedling Borough Council approved it in 2011.

A judicial review upheld that decision but campaigners have now won a Court of Appeal battle to have it overturned.

Landowner John Charles-Jones said he will continue talks with the council.

Mr Charles-Jones, a farmer, wanted the turbine on his land which sits in a green belt area.

But more than 1,000 people objected to the structure on the basis of its visual impact.

Since the wind turbine was approved, the argument between planners and residents has resulted in six court cases.

‘Complicated issue’

Last week the Court of Appeal ruled there had been some discrepancies in the council planning committee’s original decision-making and they should now reconsider it.

A second planning application has now been submitted and the council’s chair of planning, Darryl Pulk says the turbine could ultimately stay in place.

“There’s no reason, whilst the planning application is being considered, for the wind turbine to be taken down,” he said.

Mr Pulk said the several court cases had cost the local authority tens of thousands of pounds.

“The democratic process of planning is a complicated issue and people do have a right to appeal,” he added.

“It is frustrating that we are now having to revisit the application but the council must defend its position and sometimes there are costs to it.

“We have decided not to appeal again and run the risk of increasing more expenses.”

Solicitors representing the campaigners from the Woodborough and Calverton Against Turbines (WACAT) group said the Court of Appeal’s decision had been a “landmark ruling” in terms of other turbines being built on green belt land.

If the wind turbine has to be taken down following the latest application, the cost would fall on the landowner, the council said.