Council launches legal challenge to thwart wind farm bid

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Local authority leaders have submitted a legal challenge to the High Court against planning permission for a wind farm in Northamptonshire.

Officials from South Northamptonshire Council has objected to the developmenton land to the north of Welsh Lane between Helmdon and Greatworth, claiming it would have a major impact on the landscape and many heritage assets that fall within 5km of the proposed site.

The Spring Farm Ridge proposal from Broadview Energy Limited would see five wind turbines built close to a conservation area with many listed buildings.

After planning permission was initially refused by SNC, the development was given consent on appeal on July 12. The council has now started legal proceedings under sections 66 and 72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Councillor Stephen Clarke, chairman of the development control committee, said: “Wind energy is important but it has to be in the right place and should not have a negative impact on the community or the countryside, and we believe this was not taken fully into account at the appeal.

“It is our view that the Inspector disregarded the local landscape policies that protect our heritage in favour of the national policies contained within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that promotes the use of renewable resources.

“We believe that the Inspector did not follow the provision of the law when considering the balance between heritage and renewable energy, and failed to have ‘special regard’ for the desirability of preserving the listed buildings and conservation areas which the law requires. Instead only the provisions of the NPPF were applied.”