Compensation bid over shelved Orby inquiry

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East Lindsey District Council is to seek compensation for additional costs that will be incurred after the Orby wind farm appeal had to be adjourned when the inspector died midway through proceedings.

Back in spring, the Planning Inspectorate ruled that the inquiry would have to resume anew after the tragic death of Trevor Cookson.

In a statement issued at the time, Leanne Palmer, of the Inspectorate, said: “It is with profound regret that I must inform you that inspector Trevor Cookson collapsed and died on April 2.

“His death was entirely unexpected and has come as a complete shock.

“Given that extensive inquiry evidence was heard by Mr Cookson before adjournment, it seems to the Planning Inspectorate that there is little alternative other than for the inquiry to be re-run in its entirety before a new inspector.

“This is because we feel that any decision taken by a different inspector, on the basis of discussions and questioning at inquiry sessions heard solely by Mr Cookson could be challenged, whatever the decision was.”

Prior to his death, the inspector had been hearing evidence relating to an appeal by farmer Mark Caudwell against East Lindsey District Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for nine turbines to be installed on land off Marsh Lane.

At a meeting on Thursday (May 23), ELDC’s head of planning, David Loveday, revealed that he was seeking compensation to all parties for the delay caused by the adjournment of the hearing.

“Given the circumstances, it may seem churlish but the escalation of costs has been substantial “ he explained.

“l have therefore written to the Inspectorate asking for an ex-gratia payment. That was six weeks ago, and I have not yet received a response which perhaps reflects how the request is exercising their minds.”

At Thursday’s meeting, members also agreed that, once a date has been agreed for the start of a new hearing, ELDC should continue to resist Mr Caudwell’s appeal.