Planning fiasco cost us all dear

Friday 27th January 2017 8:58 am

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Bill Grahamslaw, of Kings Close, Sherford, writes:

The decision by the secretary of state for communities and local government Sajid Javid to finally refuse the application for a wind turbine in Frogmore is a triumph for common sense, the rule of law and justice – but at what cost?

The cost to local council tax payers is incalculable, but ­significant; and what about the reputation of those elected councillors who twice chose to support this ill-founded project by ignoring the advice of their own experts? That isn’t ­democracy in action, it rather suggests elements of anarchy were at play. Shame on you.

As chairman of the parish council when these local ­decisions were taken, I take no real pleasure in this outcome because I recognise the true cost of this fiasco.

I always sought to represent the honest views of parishioners, because that is true democracy. South Hams ­councillors are not elected to waste public money or to promote their own views without valid reasons, especially when faced with significant public opposition and lawful considerations.

Yes, we all know some dairy farmers are struggling, but that is a separate debate over which our views can have limited impact.

What we do know is that our institutions, especially our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and our local heritage, are examples of what are well worth preserving so we do not diminish their attraction for visitors and our vitally important tourist industry. Once they are gone, they are gone forever.

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