Campaigners seeking to preserve the beauty of the local landscape are celebrating victory in the latest battle against inappropriate wind farm developments in the area. South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) has won its legal challenge in the High Court against planning permission for five wind turbines on land at Spring Farm Ridge, to the north of Welsh Lane between Helmdon and Greatworth. The proposed development, that would have seen the construction of an unsightly wind farm adjacent to a conservation area with many listed buildings, was originally refused planning permission by SNC in June 2011. The developers then lodged an appeal with the Secretary of State and in July last year a planning inspector allowed the appeal following a public inquiry.
The council claimed there were a number of flaws in the appeal decision and succeeded in persuading the court that the inspector did not follow the provision of the law that requires applications to be determined in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Proceedings were initiated under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and SNC submitted its legal challenge last August. The case went to court on December 5.
Councillor Stephen Clarke, chairman of SNC’s development control committee, said:
“The Council understands the need for alternative energy. However, wind farms can only be supported in the right locations and be subject to the same planning tests as any other development. Spring Farm Ridge is an inappropriate location and the proposed development will spoil our beautiful countryside and adversely impact the local community for future generations.
“I am delighted that our course of action – as the local planning authority – has been vindicated. SNC will continue to support its local communities when they are threatened by inappropriate development.”