Hopes for public inquiry into Norfolk wind turbines dashed - but council will challenge the decision

The proposed site for the Selbrigg wind turbine. The view north-west from Baconsthorpe. Pictures: Fr

The proposed site for the Selbrigg wind turbine. The view north-west from Baconsthorpe. Pictures: Francis Feilden - Credit: Archant

Hopes of campaigners for a new public inquiry into controversial plans for two wind turbines in north Norfolk have been dashed by a new High Court ruling.

However, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) looks set to challenge the decision.

In March last year, after a six day public inquiry a planning inspector gave consent for the turbines, which would be about a mile apart at Bodham and Selbrigg.

This was despite fierce opposition from NNDC and the No To That Turbine (NOTTT) pressure group.

The inspector's decision came after a successful challenge to the council's refusal to give permission for the turbines.

However, when the council and NOTTT mounted a new legal challenge to the inspector's decision, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government conceded the matter, quashed the inspector's grant of planning consent and a new public inquiry was ordered.

A new inspector, however, decided it could be dealt with by written representations.

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The council and opponents of the turbines then argued that there should a full inquiry, but a top judge has now sided with the inspector and refused to order it.

In dismissing a challenge at London's High Court to the inspector's decision, Mr Justice Ouseley said it was 'a wholly reasonable judgment' that no further oral submissions were required, and said the council's challenge should be dismissed.

Sue Arnold, NNDC's cabinet member for planning and planning policy, said: 'The decision is most disappointing and we believe sets a dangerous precedent for public inquiries which have taken place and where the previous planning inspector's decisions have been quashed.

'I am certain this council will wish to challenge this latest decision, giving the people of north Norfolk the chance to have their voices heard in public.

'In my opinion these turbines are in the wrong place and this view is supported by virtually 100pc of the members of this council.'

Amelia Courtauld, secretary of the NOTTT group, said: 'We are very disappointed. We support the council's position. We feel that the local people and those that are going to be affected should be heard.'