DUP Alderman Sam Cole has described Minister Durkan’s decision to approve the Cam Wind Farm as ‘sad and sinister’.
The Garvagh councillor said: “It overturns the decisions made by Coleraine Borough Council’s Planning Committee on two separate occasions in 2014 and the Causeway Coast and Glens Super Council Planning Committee in September 2015.
“The Application was previously referred to the Minister for decision by Coleraine Borough Council after an office meeting, but the Minister declined to act, as it was a matter of public concern.
“Instead he referred the application for decision to the new Causeway Coast and Glens Planning Committee who consequently rejected the application in September 2015.
“The Committee felt that the proposed wind farm was not in a suitable location - it would have adverse visual impact and had no clear economic value.
“Almost the entire community in the area opposed the application. A petition containing more than 500 objectors was presented to planners.
“Members of the new council’s Planning Committee, acting on their own legal advice, referred the decision to full Council, but the Minister then took the Application back.
“As an elected member, I can only describe his actions as both sad and sinister.
“It is a sad day for local democracy, and sinister because it overturns a decision by a legally constituted Planning Committee for no apparent planning policy reason.”