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East Riding loses fifth public inquiry as previous council appeal costs are revealed

Posted 3rd February 2010

East Riding Council has lost its fifth consecutive appeal against a proposed wind farm development.

The appointed planning inspector disagreed with the council's planning committee's rejection of a three-turbine wind farm at Tedder Hill near Roos in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

As with previous refusals that have been overturned, the planning committee had rejected the scheme on the grounds of cumulative impact.

The findings of the inquiry concluded that that the turbines did not introduce an "industrial" element to the countryside and cumulative impact could not be considered as other applications had yet to be determined.

"There have been applications for turbine clusters relatively close to the appeal site at Sunderland Farm, Roos and Monkwith," said the inspector Paul Griffiths.

"The former was refused planning permission and is in the appeal process and the latter, as I write, is awaiting a council decision. There are other proposals on-shore and off-shore...I do not accept that their approval is somehow inevitable."

Meanwhile yes2wind can reveal that East Riding Council's costs for three previous public inquiries amount to more than £125,000. The council's planning committee had thrown out the applications only for each to be overturned at public inquiry.

Costs for the Hall Farm proposal at Routh amounted to £33,200. The Withernwick proposal costs were £16,125 and the council met costs of £39,800 for the Six Penny Wood inquiry. The outcome of the Tedder Hill inquiry will add further to the Council's costs.

Another public inquiry also got underway in December 2009, with West Coast Energy's six-turbine Sober Hill proposal near North Newbald the new centre of attention. The indications are that the planning inspector will find in favour of this proposal too by spring 2010, adding to East Riding's bill once again.

Developer RES has also submitted an application for a public inquiry for its Sunderland Farm proposal near Roos that was knocked back by East Riding Council in July 2009, despite planners recommending approval. A date for the inquiry has not been announced.

The council may also have to meet further public inquiry costs relating to a three-turbine development scheme called Monkwith Wind Farm between the villages of Hilston and Tunstall that was rejected in December 2009 despite planning officers recommending approval. The developer is likely to appeal at public inquiry.

Serious questions must now be asked of the East Riding planning committee. While councillors may have personal views about wind farm developments, their role is to consider planning applications against published national and regional guidelines. Leading councillors continue to claim they are representing local opinion - however, it's a subjective claim that ignores agreed planning policies.

In all of the recent cases, the planning committee has failed to interpret pertinent aspects of the criteria correctly - to the ultimate cost of the taxpayer. And the costs are mounting fast. The actions of the East Riding Planning Committee need to be scrutinised urgently.

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