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Civic watchdog mounts legal challenge

PUBLISHED: 14:01 30 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:45 05 July 2010

A HERITAGE group have today launched their first ever legal challenge against a planning decision after permission was granted for two controversial wind turbines near Lowestoft.

A HERITAGE group have today launched their first ever legal challenge against a planning decision after permission was granted for two controversial wind turbines near Lowestoft.

Civic watchdog the Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) has joined forces with concerned groups in Waveney to begin judicial review proceedings following the decision to give the go-ahead for the 125m turbines earlier this year.

It is the first time the society has launched a legal challenge against a planning decision - but director Richard Ward says the Society will not be afraid to take a similar course of action in future, if appropriate.

“This is the first time the society has become involved in a judicial review - but it certainly isn't a route we would be afraid to follow in future,” he said.

“We will be looking very closely at the decisions made by planning authorities across the county and challenging them if and when it is appropriate. “It is essential that Suffolk's unique urban and rural environment is protected and judicial review is another tool we can use to help ensure the county remains special,” he added.

A planning inspector gave SLP Energy Ltd the green light to construct the turbines on the outskirts of Kessingland in the spring.

The inspector ruled in favour of the company after planners at Waveney District Council failed to decide on the £4m plans, earmarked for land close to the Africa Alive wildlife park.

Opponents of the scheme warned that the turbines would create a blot on the landscape of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty), and that the inspector's decision was not well reasoned and so could lead to confusion with regard to future applications for wind turbines.

“It is essential that local views should be taken into account during the planning process,” Mr Ward said. “Legal action is another way of ensuring those views are heard.”

Founded in 1929, the society originally worked to protect the county's buildings and landscape, but today, the society has broadened its focus to help shape Suffolk's future, largely campaigning for sensitive and appropriate development, more and better quality affordable homes and to ensure sustainable infrastructures are in place to support the county's communities.

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