Forest of Dean wind turbine storm continues

By Aaron Kendall   |   Assistant Editor   |
Thursday 21st December 2017 4:01 pm
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WIND TURBINE: The Resilience Centre's Sue Clarke pictured with the Alvington turbine and inset the High Court judgement. ()

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BLOODIED but unbowed - the group fighting to build a giant wind turbine in Tidenham were picking themselves up from the wreckage of an unfavourable court judgment this week.

The Woolaston-based Resilience Centre which operates community turbines at St Briavels and Alvington, has been fighting against a court judgment in 2016 which quashed planning permission for a third turbine in Tidenham.

And this week, the Court of Appeal upheld the previous judgment that the planning permission granted by Forest of Dean District Council was unlawful because it took into account the scheme’s financial donations to the community.

The donations – promised by the Resilience Centre to total between £500,000 - £1,100,000 – were to be administered through a Community Benefit Society formed under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.

The council accepted that the donations had been taken into account in granting the permission.

The question for the Court was whether that approach was lawful.

This week Lord Justice McFarlane, Lord Justice Davis and Lord Justice Hikinbottom handed down their judgment which upheld the decision of the previous hearing.

But Sue Clarke, who heads the Resilience Centre, said the group still has a number of legal options to consider before it concedes defeat.

“Obviously we and the community were all very disappointed by the court’s decision,” she said.

“But there is a possibility of further action with a number of options open to us."

The judges’ decision boiled down to their ruling that the financial benefit to the community should not have been regarded as ‘material’ to the granting of planning permission.

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