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Barnwell Manor Wind Energy Ltd v E.Northants DC, English Heritage, National Trust & SSCLG

[2014] EWCA Civ 137

Court of Appeal rejects Barnwell Manor wind farm appeal, upholds the statutory duty to give considerable weight to preserving the setting of listed buildings.

Today the Court of Appeal dismissed a challenge to an earlier ruling that the planning permission granted for a wind farm near Lyveden New Bield and other important listed buildings in Northamptonshire was unlawful.

The Court held that in enacting section 66(1) of the Listed Buildings Act 1990 Parliament intended that the desirability of preserving the settings of listed buildings should not simply be given careful consideration by the decision-maker for the purpose of deciding whether there would be some harm, but should be given "considerable importance and weight" when the decision-maker carries out the balancing exercise. In granting planning permission for the wind turbines the inspector had failed to do this.

The Court found that the inspector had also erred in applying a "reasonable observer" test – would a reasonable observer appreciate the difference between the form and function of a wind turbine and a heritage asset – as the principal basis for determining whether substantial harm would be caused to a heritage asset.

To read the judgment, please click: Barnwell v East Northamptonshire DC Judgment.

Robin Green was junior counsel for East Northamptonshire District Council, English Heritage and the National Trust.