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Flintshire County Council spent £133,000 in failed legal battle over landfill site

FLINTSHIRE County Council has spent more than £130,000 on a failed legal battle over a landfill site in Deeside, the Chronicle can reveal.

Earlier this month a Welsh Assembly Government planning inspector ruled in favour of D Morgan Plc after the company appealed against enforcement notices issued by the authority for allegedly doing building work without permission at Sea View Farm, Aston.

Clive Nield ruled that the notices issued by the council were ‘a nullity in law’, but said the authority had acted reasonably in taking enforcement action and therefore awarded no costs.

However, the council did incur expenses for ongoing legal fees – a total of £133,512.

A report written by the county’s head of planning, Andrew Farrow, said the alleged breaches took place between 2003 and 2007.

It said they caused permanent damage to the area’s character and landscape. Campaigning residents also suggested there were threats to health because of the supposed overdevelopment of the site.

A council spokesman said: “From April 1, 2004 to date the council has paid £27,460 in barristers’ fees and from April 9, 2006, to date, £106,052 in consultants’ fees.”

County councillors for Aston Helen Brown and George Hardcastle branded the ruling an ‘embarrassment’ for the council and has asked for a full investigation to be conducted.

It is the second time in a decade the council has lost a legal battle with the company over work at Sea View Farm.

Ten years ago a public inquiry ruled in favour of Ellesmere Port-based D Morgan after the council alleged unauthorised development at Sea View Farm.