The Supreme Court has upheld an appeal by a pressure group over a decision made by The Forest of Dean District Council and a local company.

A challenge to the council’s grant of planning permission for a wind turbine at Tidenham was successful after the case went through the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

The court decided that the decisions of the High Court and then the Court of Appeal to quash the planning permission were correct.

The battle was over the 2015 permission for a change of use from agricultural land to the building of an 87-metre high wind turbine at Tidenham Farm for which the district council’s planning committee granted permission to Resilient Energy Severndale Ltd.The company proposed the wind turbine would be erected and run by a community benefit society and offered a ‘promise’ that an annual donation would be made of four per cent of the wind turbines’ financial turnover for 25 years to be paid into a local community fund.

The planning committee decided to grant planning permission for the development taking into account the community fund donation.

Tidenham resident Peter Wright challenged the grant of permission on the grounds that the donation was not a material planning consideration and the council had acted unlawfully by taking it into account. He succeeded in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal so Resilient and the council took the case to the Supreme Court and lost.

The Supreme Court agreed that the community benefit did not qualify as a “material consideration” and so was not something the council should have taken into account and the planning permission should be quashed.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government was given permission to intervene and made submissions in support of the appeal.

Citing a 1981 case: Newbury District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment, the Supreme Court judges concluded: “In the present case, the community benefits promised by Resilient did not satisfy the ‘Newbury’ criteria and, therefore, did not qualify as a material consideration.

“The benefits were not proposed to pursue a proper planning purpose but rather for the ulterior purpose of providing general benefits to the community.”