In 2012 local farmer Aidan Jones applied to South Northamptonshire Council for permission to erect a 86.45 metres tall wind turbine on his land at Poplars Farm Wappenham. As SNC failed to make a decision within the time period allowed an appeal was submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. An inspector appointed by the Minister granted planning permission.
In September 2014 a Wappenham Wind Turbine Action Group sought an order in the High Court for the inspector’s decision to be quashed. They were successful. Mr Jones appealed and on 3rd December 2015 three judges in the Court of Appeal reviewed the evidence and reinstated Mr Jones’ planning application. The way is now cleared legally for the turbine to be constructed.
On 6th April 2016 Mr Jones informed Wappenham Parish Council that at the time of his original planning application he had intended to sign an undertaking that would have benefitted the village of Wappenham by £20,000 a year for 20 years.This offer was linked to the feed-in tarrif he expected to receive at the time. Mr Jones explained that he was prepared to reinstate this agreement should the village decide to work alongside him to campaign to Government for the higher rate of feed-in tarrif applicable at the time of his original application.
One villager, Mr Lauren who had been involved in the legal action, informed the meeting that he had contacted Mr Jones seeking clarification of the details of what had been offered to the village. Mr Jones told him that he felt that he had not been allowed to formally declare the details of the offer at the time by the then Chairman of the Parish Council as it would be seen as a bribe to the village. Mr Lauren informed the Parish Council that t
he Action Group might not have continued to oppose the application had they known details of the offer.
Wappenham Parish Council then resolved to consult the village. On 4th May at the Annual Assembly the matter was again raised. The meeting was stormy and subsequently Mr Jones withdrew his offer to grant Wappenham Parish £400,000.
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