There’s not much that brings a community together quite like a controversial planning application.
In today’s edition alone we have three stormy ones - a power station in Eye (front page), a wind farm in Hempnall (page 10) and a wedding venue proposal in Bressingham (page 7).
Those objecting to the plans have joined forces, invested time and money, and in some cases employed experts and tried to become overnight experts in planning law.
The Hempnall wind farm is the longest running saga and the mixed messages from government on energy planning have not helped.
The National Planning Policy Framework imposed by central government in 2012 was supposed to streamline planning. It talked of supporting sustainable and renewable energy projects. The wind farm was refused by the local council, then appealed, then ‘called-in’ and thrown out by Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, as he has done with other UK energy projects. The developer now thinks it has a case at the High Court to get that decision overturned.
Communities deserve better than this from a democratic planning system.