East Leeds: New inquiry looming over Hook Moor wind farm plan

The proposed site for a wind-farm at Hook Moor.

The proposed site for a wind-farm at Hook Moor.

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A DEVELOPMENT giant has succeeded with a bid to resurrect a controversial wind-farm scheme in east Leeds.

The Durham-based Banks Group’s proposals for Hook Moor, near Micklefield, looked dead in the water last year when they were rejected on appeal by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate following a public inquiry.

Banks had launched the appeal after its original application for planning permission was thrown out by Leeds City Council.

Today, though, it emerged that the Planning Inspectorate’s ruling has been quashed in the High Court.

Banks told the Yorkshire Evening Post it had challenged the ruling on the grounds that it was “fatally flawed”.

The firm believes it is “likely” that the case will now be the subject of a further public inquiry.

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council also said it expected another inquiry to be held in due course.

News of the High Court decision was described as “greatly disappointing” by the Hook Moor Wind Farm Action Group, which has spearheaded opposition to the scheme.

The proposed wind farm would consist of five propeller-style turbines, each reaching a height of 125 metres (410 feet).

Banks says they would create enough energy for more than 8,000 homes without the production of environmentally-damaging greenhouse gases.

Local residents, though, argue that the green-belt land earmarked for the turbines is too close to their houses.

Turning down Banks’s appeal last November, the Planning Inspectorate said the scheme would cause harm to the green belt and its “visual amenities”.

Although appeals against council planning decisions are technically made to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, they are administered by the inspectorate.

The inspectorate’s rulings are made on the basis of information received via written representations, an informal hearing or, as in the case of Hook Moor, a public inquiry.

John Foley, the chairman of Premier Technical Services Group

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