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Date published: 30th January 2018
North Norfolk District Council is challenging the Planning Inspectorate on its decision not to hold a Public Inquiry in the process of re-considering joint planning appeals for wind turbines at Bodham and Selbrigg.
In May 2017, the District Council successfully challenged a previous Inspector’s decision to allow the two turbine appeals following a seven day joint Public Inquiry in late 2016.
It was expected that the Planning Inspectorate would hold a new joint Public Inquiry to re-consider the appeals. The District Council is of the opinion that the latest decision of the Inspectorate to carry out the appeals using the written representation process would deny the opportunity to properly scrutinise the proposals in public and properly test the conflicting expert opinions.
It would also deny a local campaign group known as No To That Turbine (NOTTT) from putting their case to the Inspectorate at an Inquiry and would prevent the many local residents from putting their views to the Inspector in person.
Cllr Sue Arnold, North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “It is important to ensure that significant planning applications which have attracted considerable public interest should be dealt with in a fair and transparent way.
“The decision not to hold a Public Inquiry will deny the rights of local residents to appear in person at an Inquiry, as they have been able to do previously, and this erodes trust and confidence in any subsequent decision the Inspectorate make.
“We are taking this action because the Planning Inspectorate do not appear to want to listen to the people of North Norfolk.”
Amelia Courtauld, on behalf of the local campaign group No To That Turbine (NOTTT), said: “The local communities affected by the turbine proposals are truly staggered by the decision of the Planning Inspectorate not to hold another Public Inquiry as they did in 2016.
“This decision flies in the face of local democracy and denies NOTTT and other local residents from putting their views directly to the Inspector in person.
“This decision has eroded all confidence in the Planning Inspectorate to deal with the proposal in a fair and transparent way. We therefore wholeheartedly support the action taken by North Norfolk District Council in helping ensure the voice of local residents can be properly heard.”
The Council is awaiting a response from the Planning Inspectorate but will continue legal proceedings unless agreement is reached to re-hear the appeals via a Public Inquiry.
Last updated: 30th January 2018