Judge reserves decision over Pickles wind farm appeal refusal

A judge has reserved her decision in a legal challenge against the secretary of state's decision to refuse permission for a proposed six-turbine wind farm in Yorkshire, contrary to an inspector's recommendation of approval.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles
Communities secretary Eric Pickles

High Court judge Mrs Justice Lang has reserved her decision in the battle over the proposed Thornholme Field wind farm at Burton Agnes, Yorkshire, in which developer Wind Prospects Developments attacked the decision by Eric Pickles to reject its proposal.

He turned it down despite a planning inspector advising that permission should be granted.

The case is one of a number which the secretary of state has recovered to decide on himself.

Wind Prospects claims Pickles failed to properly explain why he reached a different view to that of his inspector on key issues including the effect on the surrounding landscape and the impact on residential amenity of locals.

The secretary of state took the view that, if the proposal were allowed, multiple wind farm sites would be visible from homes in the area and that their "cumulative impact" would have an "adverse impact on local amenity".

But Wind Prospects says that Pickles was required to give adequate reasons for arriving at a different view from his inspector.

Gordon Nardell QC argued on the company’s behalf that what Pickles provided amounted to a "bare statement that he has a difference in view" with no proper explanation how he came to that conclusion.

Nardell said: "The claimant simply cannot tell how the secretary of state reached his decision. It has no way of understanding from the decision letter what, if any, steps it could take to revise the scheme to make it acceptable in this locality."

Wind Prospects hopes the judge will quash the decision and order a reconsideration, giving it a fresh chance at securing planning permission.

Lawyers for the government argued that the decision was lawfully made and should stand.

Mrs Justice Lang will give a written judgment at a later date.

Wind Prospect Developments Limited v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Case Number: CO/3043/2014

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