Council criticised as turbine bid scuppered

Andrew Joicey
Andrew Joicey

Northumberland County Council was criticised as a proposal to erect a wind turbine in north Northumberland was quashed by judicial review for the third time in as many years.

In November last year, the county council considered for the third time a planning application for a 47.1metre turbine at Brackenside, between Ford and Lowick, which would be located just 1km from the Barmoor windfarm, where EDF is currently erecting six 110-metre-high turbines.

This application had already been granted planning permission twice, in February and November 2012, but resident Andrew Joicey had asked for judicial review of both these decisions, claiming on each occasion that the council had acted unlawfully in a number of ways in the process of dealing with the application.

The authority conceded and both planning permissions were quashed by the High Court, in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

After last November’s decision, Mr Joicey again applied for judicial review and the judgement was handed down on Friday in Mr Joicey’s favour, quashing the planning permission.

Mr Justice Cranston criticised the county council for a ‘serious breach of its statutory obligations’ in failing to make documents available, taking ‘a dim view of any public authority which backdated a document in a manner which could give a false impression to the public’.

Coun Allan Hepple, policy board member responsible for housing, planning and regeneration at Northumberland County Council, said: “We are obviously very disappointed with the outcome of this case. We have successfully defended four of the six grounds of appeal, however, the judge still chose to quash the application – and we understand the extreme frustration that this will have caused the applicant.

“The judge has commented on our information procedures and we take his observations extremely seriously. In view of this, we will be carrying out a full investigation into the issues that have been raised and will take appropriate action upon the investigation’s conclusion.

”We would stress that we are a council which strives to have an very open and transparent planning system.”

For more, see Thursday’s Northumberland Gazette.