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Fight to halt St Mawgan wind farm 'not over' despite ruling

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 22, 2013

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A ST MAWGAN parish councillor who lost his High Court challenge against a wind farm planned near his home has said his fight is "not over".

William Corbett, who lives at Tolcarne Merock, had hoped to persuade judge Mr Justice Lewis to quash Cornwall Council's decision to grant planning permission for the five 100m-tall turbine development in the parish.

Despite local objections, the council's strategic planning committee approved the scheme, by REG Windpower, on land at Lower Denzell Farm, St Mawgan, in September 2011.

On Thursday last week the judge, sitting in London, dismissed the challenge, clearing way for the development to proceed.

However, Mr Corbett said the fight was "not over" and although it was a "disappointing" result, he intends to lodge an appeal against the judge's decision.

He said: "In a number of respects we find the judge's decision unsatisfactory. We think the Court of Appeal is quite likely to take a different view of the matter.

"It is disappointing and it is annoying because it is another round of costs.

"We have 21 days to lodge grounds with the Court of Appeal. [Then we have] 14 days to lodge a skeleton argument."

Mr Corbett's barrister, Saira Sheikh, had argued on his behalf that the grant of permission was unlawful for a number of reasons, including claims that the council had failed to meet its material obligations in not reconvening its strategic planning committee to reconsider the application in light of national planning policy changes and that the authority failed to provide an adequate summary of its reasons for the grant of permission or include an adequate summary of the policies relevant to the decision.

But the judge said he believed the council's decision had been lawful.

He said: "The decision of the council to grant planning permission for this particular development is, in my judgment, lawful. The officer was fully entitled to act on that decision and to issue the planning permission. The claim for judicial review is therefore dismissed."

Following the judge's decision, REG Windpower said construction work for the scheme would start next year.

Matt Partridge, the company's development director, said: "This is great news, not just for us but also the project's many local supporters. At a time when Cornwall Council has announced budget cuts of £43 million, reducing support for health services, road maintenance and libraries among others, this litigation was an unfortunate additional drain on council resources. However, looking to the future, we can now move towards building the wind farm, which will generate a significant quantity of much-needed safe, clean, renewable electricity.

"Additionally, this decision finally unlocks the Community Fund and we look forward to working with local people to support as many worthwhile causes as we can."

The council said it noted the judgement of the court but declined to comment further.

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