A WIND farm developer has been ordered to pay legal costs to an opposition group.

Plans for turbines to be built near Hambleton were submitted in 2009 as part of a scheme that would generate electricity for about 10,500 homes.

The proposed Bishopwood wind farm included seven turbines between Thorpe Willoughby and Hambleton, and was rejected by planners from Selby District Council in January 2013. The Planning Inspectorate reviewed the case after the developer, German company Prowind, withdrew a planning appeal before it was to be heard at a public inquiry.

In a ruling announced this week, the Planning Inspectorate said: "In this case, the appeal was withdrawn some 30 months after it was submitted. The appellants’ decision to withdraw the appeal when they did needed to be weighed against the risk of an award of costs.

"In these circumstances, the Secretary of State has no option but to conclude on the evidence before him, that this was not a case where the council changed or modified their stance on the appeal and there is no evidence that there was a material change in circumstances relevant to the planning issues arising on the appeal or any other exceptional circumstances to justify the withdrawal.

"For these reasons, it is concluded that a partial award of costs against the appellants, on grounds of “unreasonable” behaviour resulting in wasted or unnecessary expense, is justified in the particular circumstances."

Howard Ferguson, from opposition group, Stop Bishopwood Wind Farm Action Group, said: "The planning inspector had made it clear that we all had to follow the correct procedure. In our case the team worked night after night until midnight preparing our evidence.

"It was not fair that Prowind, having appealed the decision, did not submit their evidence on time. I am pleased that the Planning Inspector has ordered the developer to pay some of our costs."

Mr Ferguson said: "I am delighted that the matter is now closed.

"Having visited other operational wind farms I know that the turbines would have been a blot on our landscape, but worst of all with them being so close to homes many people would have had to endure unacceptable levels of noise. The seven-year fight was worthwhile. We will now submit a cost claim to Prowind."