November 30, 2015

Judge gives go ahead for wind turbine in West Devon

Western Morning News | November 29, 2015 |

The go-ahead has been given by one of the country’s top judges for a wind turbine to be erected in the middle of the west Devon countryside despite claims that it will be a blot on the landscape and harm the setting of an ancient monument and two listed buildings.

On Friday (27 November 2015) Mr Justice Lindblom dismissed a challenge to the scheme from the owner of land adjoining the farm where the site earmarked for the turbine is situated.

The legal challenge at London’s High Court came from Julia Martin, who for the last eight years has run a successful camping business called Devon Yurt, on her land at Borough Farm, at Lifton near Launceston.

Mrs Martin, who lives at Borough Farm with her three children claimed that the plan by her neighbours, Mr and Mrs Andrew Heyward, for their neighbouring Beckwell Farm, would damage the settings and significance of the monument and listed buildings which are designaged “heritage assets.”

West Devon Borough Council refused to grant planning consent for the turbine, but when the Heywards appealed a Government Planning Inspector gave the go-ahead.

Now that decision has been backed by Mr Justice Lindblom. Mrs Martin had argued in her High Court challenge that the planning inspector failed to give proper and adequate reasons on whether he had sufficient information about the impact the turbine would have on the monument and listed buildings.

She also claimed that he had failed to take into account Government policy in his consideration of whether he had sufficient information about the impact the turbine would have on : Castle Park Camp, a late Bronze Age or early Iron Age ramparted enclosure about a kilometre to the south-east of the site of the proposed wind turbine; the Round House, a grade II listed building, about 1.7 kilometres to the east of the site of the proposed turbine; and Downhouse, another grade II listed building some 580 metres to the south-west of the site of the proposed wind turbine.

Dismissing the challenge though the judge said on Friday that he considered the planning inspector’s reasoning on the likely effect of the turbine on the “heritage assets” was “impeccable.”

He continued : “In undertaking this assessment, he clearly had well in mind not only the documentary evidence before him but also what he had seen on his site visit. The planning judgments he made when assessing the likely effects of the development on the “setting and significance” of each heritage asset did not require any elaborate reasons.

“The explanation he gave for each of those judgments was coherent and convincing. It does not betray any failure to consider all of the evidence before him in the appeal, to carry out a suitably thorough site visit, to take into account the considerations relevant to his assessment, or, in the light of everything he had seen and read, to form the judgments he had to make.”

He added : “In my view, therefore, the inspector’s decision is lawful. Mrs Martin’s challenge fails on both grounds.”

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