Allerdale refuses (again)…appeal here we come (again)

Yet again the Allerdale planning committee has humiliated its own planning department and torn up the even stronger recommendation for approval for our proposed mid-sized wind turbine at JPA Brayton. The officers report concluded:

Bearing in mind the current extant approval for a wind turbine on this site and the fact that the turbine would be no greater in height than that approved, the alteration in design is not considered sufficient to warrant refusal of the application. It is considered the need for the development outweighs any landscape implications also, bearing in mind national planning policy approval is recommended. – Allerdale Planning Officer

Despite already loosing at appeal once for the same-size turbine at JPA Brayton only last year and having costs for “unreasonable behaviour” awarded against them.. they chose to do it all over again! This time the refusal reason is pure fiction.. claiming the turbine “by virtue of its greater scale..” (untrue by the way) “….would constitute a prominent and unsympathetic feature

In awarding costs against the council last time, the Appeal Inspector criticised the members saying:

The Council’s decision to refuse to grant planning permission was made in the absence of any empirical evidence to substantiate their concerns. To disregard their officers’ comprehensive analysis of the relevant issues under these circumstances amounted to unreasonable behaviour, causing the applicant unnecessary expense in having to pursue the matter to appeal. I conclude that a full award of costs is justified. The application therefore succeeds.

In truth the revised application should not have required full planning permission at all since it was just swapping one turbine model for another – the replacement was actually to be no taller, quieter and more efficient. Go figure!

No doubt the revised application will be granted at appeal and yet more costs will be awarded – all at the tax-payers expense. Last year it was publicised that Allerdale has been burning vast amounts of public money fighting (and loosing) wind turbine applications. Checking the published minutes reveals that hardly a month goes by when they do not refuse one or more applications that after much careful consideration, were recommended for approval by their planning department. The planning officers must wonder why they bother!

Is this how local democracy is supposed to work? Who benefits from all those lost planning appeals and costs against the council? Certainly not the local people who the councillors are supposed to be serving.

Our suggestion to Mssrs Cameron and Osbourne.. If you want to get the economy working again – do something to prevent these needless appeal cases.