Berwick wind turbine plans get the green light for third time

Wind turbine plans which have twice been quashed by the courts have been given the green light for a third time by planners

John Lowdon A wind turbine
A wind turbine

Northumberland County Council has twice been taken to judicial review and lost after granting father and son John and George Barber permission to build at Brackenside Farm near Berwick.

The cases left the authority with bills of more than £17,000 after they admitted procedural errors.

But now, after the plans for the single 100kW turbine were submitted for a third time, the authority’s Planning and Environment and Rights of Way Committee has once more given them approval.

Anti-wind campaigners have already indicated they may consider another appeal.

A spokesman for the County Council said she was confident the authority had not repeated the mistakes of the past.

“There were some procedural errors in the planning process concerning statutory consultation requirements and also noise monitoring conditions,” she said.

“But we have put measures in place to rectify these issues, and all procedures were followed in consideration of this application.”

The application was first approved by the council in February 2012, in line with an officer’s recommendation.

However, Andrew Joicey, who farms at Cornhill and who had objected to the application, sought a judicial review of the council’s handling of the proposal, listing eight points of errors he believed it had made. The authority accepted either fully or in part five of the areas raised by Mr Joicey, and permission was quashed by the judge. The council agreed to meet Mr Joicey’s costs of over £10,700.

The Barbers’ application was subsequently redetermined by the council, and approved a second time in line with officer advice. Mr Joicey again sought a judicial review, this time citing five areas of council failings.

The council conceded it was wrong in two of those areas, meaning the permission was quashed by the high court a second time. Again, the authority had to pick up Mr Joicey’s costs, in the region of £7,000.

Before the latest decision was made, Mr Joicey claimed the application overestimates the amount of renewable energy the turbine would generate and said the council has failed to heed recent planning guidance. He warned the authority could face a third legal challenge, saying: “It is only right that somebody does that if mistakes continue to be made.”

Thirty two letters of objection to the current turbine proposal at Brackenside farm were lodged, while Lowick and Bowsden parish councils are also opposed, alongside 28 of support.

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