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Date published: 11th March 2020
North Norfolk District Council will no longer continue its legal battle against plans to build two separate wind turbines at Bodham and Selbrigg.
Despite strong objections from the Council and local residents, who argued against the turbines on grounds of the harm to landscape, heritage assets and wildlife would not be outweighed by the comparatively limited renewable energy benefits, the Planning Inspectorate has upheld its original decision to allow both turbines.
Leader of the Council Sarah Bütikofer commented: “We are extremely disappointed by the latest decision of the Planning Inspectorate in the long battle to oppose these applications.
“Councillors across the political spectrum have long worked together on this important issue for the community but the legal processes available to us have now been exhausted.
“We have taken legal advice from Counsel who have advised us during this eight-year fight that a further challenge would have no prospect of success. We might not like the decisions but the inspector has been neither irrational nor made a serious error of law which could have affected the outcome of his decision.
“We are writing to the Planning Inspectorate asking for a couple of inaccuracies to be corrected, but these will not materially change the outcome.
“We ourselves are very dismayed, but as a council we have a responsibility to protect the interests of all our residents living throughout our wider area - and it would not be prudent to pursue this case further.”
In reaching his decision, Planning Inspector Paul Griffiths concluded that ‘while the proposal[s] would cause some harm in terms of landscape character and visual amenity, the overall impact of the wind turbine[s] would be limited’. He went on to state he disagreed that many heritage assets would be affected and, in his view, only Baconsthorpe Castle complex would be affected by both turbines and Barningham Hall only affected by the Bodham turbine.
However, while harm was identified to these highly-graded heritage assets, the Inspector concluded the public benefits of renewable energy generation would more than outweigh the harm identified.
The Inspector concluded both schemes complied with the Council’s policy on renewable energy and, noting the District Council had declared a climate emergency in April 2019, stated ‘it would be something of a contradiction to resist further policy-compliant schemes in the District’.
Last updated: 11th March 2020