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Government policy is firmly in favour of encouraging renewable energy sources, but that did not avail the would-be developers of a solar energy plant which was planned to cover more than 22 hectares of countryside. In striking down planning permission for the scheme, the High Court identified numerous failings by local planners.
The owner of a listed mansion in the area had complained that he knew nothing of the proposals before construction work had commenced. The Court found that the local authority had failed to consult English Heritage as it should have done or to consider the project’s impact on the listed building.
The owner of the property was not consulted, despite his legitimate expectation that he would be, and the council’s decision that an environmental impact assessment was unnecessary was also fundamentally flawed. Whilst recognising that the developers would suffer substantial financial prejudice, the Court concluded that the seriousness of the errors meant that the permission had to be quashed.