Berwick wind turbine set for approval third time round

Plans for a wind turbine near Berwick which have been subject to two judicial reviews look set to be approved for the third time

John Lowdon A wind turbine
A wind turbine

Plans for a single wind turbine in Northumberland which have been subject to two high court challenges are being recommended for approval at the third time of asking.

The planning application for the engine on a farm near Berwick was initially granted planning permission by Northumberland County Council, only for that approval to be quashed by the court following judicial review. The application was approved a second time, but the permission was overturned again following a second review.

It now goes before planners a third time next week, with a recommendation that it be approved.

The application for a 100kW turbine is from John and George Barber of Brackenside Farm. It 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 on which he believed it had erred. The authority accepted either fully or in part five of the areas raised by Mr Joicey. The permission was quashed by the judge, with the council agreeing 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. The application goes before the council’s planning and environment committee a third time next Tuesday, with a recommendation that it be approved. Thirty two letters of objection have been lodged, while Lowick and Bowsden parish councils are also opposed, alongside 28 of support.

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.”

George Barber said: “I hope they say yes again and that they have got it right this time.”

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