High Court rejects wind farm decision

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VILLAGERS are celebrating after receiving news that a wind farm planned for land near Helmdon, Greatworth and Sulgrave will not now go ahead.

The verdict follows a lengthy legal battle that began in 2011 when South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) refused a proposal – put forward by Broadview Energy – for five turbines on land north of the B4525 Welsh Lane.

Broadview’s successful appeal of the decision was then challenged by South Northamptonshire Council, resulting in a High Court hearing on December 5 ahead of last Tuesday’s decision.

Councillor Stephen Clarke, chairman of the council’s development control committee, said: “I am delighted our course of action has been vindicated.

“SNC will continue to support its local communities when they are threatened by inappropriate development.”

Four of the five grounds in the challenge by SNC were dismissed at the hearing, but Judge Mackie concluded the planning inspector’s decision letter did not meet planning law requirements.

Broadview Energy had submitted the planning application to build the 125-metre high turbines to SNC in 2010.

Several action groups have been set up by residents against the proposals in affected villages, including the Helmdon, Stuchbury and Greatworth Windfarm Action Group (HSGWAG).

Veronica Ward lives in Greatworth and was also part of the legal challenge with SNC against the decision.

She said: “I would ask Broadview to cease any more attempts to develop the Spring Farm site.

As developers they continue to claim it is an ‘excellent location’. It is and will always be an appalling site for wind turbines.

“It is totally out of scale with the unspoilt landscape, too close to many homes, particularly two farms, and very unpopular with the local communities.

“All those who have lived with the threat of these turbines for years should now be allowed to get on with their lives in peace.”

South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom has also expressed her delight at the news.

But Jeffrey Corrigan, managing director of Broadview Energy, has reacted with disappointment and said: “It is important to recognise the main substance of the inspector’s judgement as to the acceptability of the scheme was not called in to question.

“We will look to work closely with the Planning Inspectorate regarding the next steps.”