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High court rules turbines can be built

PUBLISHED: 15:41 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:38 03 July 2010

TWO wind turbines can be built on the outskirts of Lowestoft, following a high court ruling yesterday.

The bid to put up the 125m turbines either side of the A12 at Kessingland had sparked opposition from some in the surrounding communities, who claimed they would ruin the north Suffolk countryside.

TWO wind turbines can be built on the outskirts of Lowestoft, following a high court ruling yesterday.

The bid to put up the 125m turbines either side of the A12 at Kessingland had sparked opposition from some in the surrounding communities, who claimed they would ruin the north Suffolk countryside.

However, deputy high court judge Frances Patterson rejected a chall-enge by the neighbouring Benacre estate and Gisleham Parish Council to have the planning permission overturned.

The decision marks the end of a drawn-out bid by Lowestoft energy company SLP to put up the turbines at the Africa Alive wildlife park and at a site further to the west, next to the A12.

SLP had appealed against Waveney District Council's failure to rule on the application when its development control committee met in October 2007.

A company can launch a challenge, known as a non-determination appeal, if it believes a council has taken too long to make a decision and an inspector subsequently granted planning permission on May 1 last year.

The inspector concluded the impact the turbines would have on nearby land did not outweigh the government's policy of promoting renewable energy, but the Benacre estate and parish council claimed the inspector erred in law and prejudiced their interests.

They wanted the matter to be sent to the secretary of state for communities and local government, Hazel Blears, to have the matter reconsidered, but the judge yesterday ruled that the inspector did take the protection of the countryside into account when coming to his decision.

A spokesman for SLP said last night: “SLP is delighted that the High Court judge has upheld the planning inspector's original decision. SLP can now continue with the engin-eering and procurement process and will naturally keep the local community briefed on progress.”

During the initial planning process, SLP identified the renewable energy industry as a key component of Lowestoft's economic revival and said the turbines would provide enough energy to power more than 3,000 homes.

The Benacre estate is owned by the Gooch family and its agent Mike Horton said: “Lady Gooch would like to express her disappointment.”

However, Mr Gooch insisted the family was pleased the plans for the turbines had faced a stringent legal challenge, although he was unable to reveal the legal costs they had incurred.

Mr Horton added: “Benacre has incurred costs from day one, but it was worth airing this.

“Lady Gooch respects the legal process.”


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