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Turbine whips up a storm in planning row

05/07/2017

A two-year legal battle over a wind turbine erected on farming land may not yet be over, a legal expert has warned. 

Mid Wales farmer Colin Bagley could have to remove the turbine on his land after the High Court ruled Powys County Council had failed to assess its impact on a Grade II* listed church nearby. 

Solicitor Mark Turner, from the Town & Country Planning team at Shropshire law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, said the outcome of the turbine saga would send an important message to the planning community.

Farmer Colin Bagley was initially granted planning permission to erect the turbine on his land in the Radnor Hills in May 2015. But local resident Graham Williams launched judicial review proceedings in the High Court, claiming the Council had not properly considered the effect of the turbine on the Grade II* listed Llanbedr Church, which is about 1.5 kilometres from the site.

The High Court dismissed Mr Williams’ application for the permission to be quashed in March 2016. The turbine was erected last year, with the electricity produced being used by Mr Bagley on his farm and the excess transmitted to the National Grid.  

But Mr Williams was granted permission to appeal against the decision of the High Court to refuse his claim for judicial review and, at the subsequent hearing, the Court of Appeal ruled that the council had failed to properly assess the impact of the turbine on the listed Church. 

Mark explained: “Under planning legislation, the Council has a duty to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses.

“The Court decided that the council’s planning committee, which had granted permission, had failed in that duty. The judge noted that neither the case officer’s recommendation on the application to the committee, nor the minutes of the committee meeting, have any record of a discussion on the likely effects of the turbine on the church.  

“The barrister acting for Mr Bagley pleaded with the judges that his client would be caused substantial prejudice if the permission were to be quashed because the turbine had already been erected. The judge said, whilst he had sympathy with Mr Bagley, the council must decide the application correctly. “

Mark added: “The council now has to reconsider its own decision and it may or may not decide that planning permission can be granted. If not, the turbine may have to be removed. 

“Judicial reviews can be launched by individuals who are hoping to challenge planning permission, whether granted by a council or by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal, or by applicants who have had a planning appeal refused.”

FBC Manby Bowdler’s Town & Country Planning team has significant experience in dealing with judicial reviews and all planning matter including issues related to listed buildings and assets, including applications, appeals and enforcement notices. Lead Partner Niall Blackie is qualified to act as an Advocate in the High Court on planning matters.

If you have an enquiry for our Town & Country Planning team, please email Mark: m.turner@fbcmb.co.uk or call 01952 208412


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