Norfolk council to appeal High Court ruling over wind turbines, despite potential cost

Campaigners against the turbines claim they will spoil beautiful countryside in north Norfolk, as pi

Campaigners against the turbines claim they will spoil beautiful countryside in north Norfolk, as pictured. Picture: Ian Shepherd - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk council will appeal a decision not to hold a public inquiry into controversial plans for two wind turbines.

Last week it was announced that the High Court had overturned an appeal by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) into the Bodham and Selbrigg turbines.

The court ruled that the next stage of the planning process would involve written representations rather than a public inquiry.

The council wants to give the public the chance to make their point directly to an inspector and said written representations would reduce the voice of those who had resisted the building of the turbines on the Cromer ridge.

Sue Arnold, NNDC's cabinet member for planning and planning policy, said: 'I have received so many emails expressing disappointment and dismay at this decision and continuing support for the council's stance on the subject.

'It is so appreciated knowing there is so much support for the stance we have taken in opposing these applications.

'We will be appealing this latest decision. This course of action could be costly for the council but it is the view of the majority of members that this is a fight for democracy on behalf of the local people and in defence of our beautiful countryside.'

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Sarah Butikofer, NNDC's Liberal Democrat Group Leader, said: 'While we are very aware of the financial implications for the council, it is essential in a democracy that everyone has the ability to have their voice heard.

'As guardians of our beautiful countryside we have a duty to ensure we have done everything possible to protect it.'

In May 2017, NNDC successfully challenged a previous inspector's decision to allow the two turbine appeals following a seven day joint public inquiry in late 2016. It was expected that the Planning Inspectorate would hold a new joint public inquiry to re-consider the appeals.

The council's stance is supported by the No To That Turbine (NOTTT) pressure group and High Kelling Parish Council.

But NNDC ward member Georgie Perry-Warnes supports the applications and said the legal challenges mounted by the council were not the best use of taxpayers' money.