BLUNDERING council planning officers have paid £40,000 compensation to a farmer after making him tear down a wind turbine.

Chris Driver was given permission for a nine-metre domestic turbine on land at Higher Meadowhead Farm, Darwen, in 2006.

But when Arthur and Jacqui Fowley, of neighbouring Higher Meadowhead Farm, complained about blades causing an “unbearable shadow flicker” in their home, the Local Government Ombudsman ruled permission should never have been granted.

Blackburn with Darwen Council were ordered to pay the Fowley’s £70,000 in compensation, unless a new site for the turbine could be found or a mechanism to stop the blades could be used.

Both ideas failed and Mr Driver was offered £40,000 to remove the turbine, which he accepted.

Mr and Mrs Fowley have slammed the council and the payout as “disgusting”.

Mrs Fowley said: “We have had to put up with four years of suffering because of the turbine.

“We could not sit in various rooms in the house. We were also trying to sell the house, but we couldn’t.

“It’s disgusting that he is being given £40,000, and all we got was £1,200 despite having to put up with everything for four years. We’ve had to pay for a barrister as well, and have had nothing back.”

Mr Fowley said: “What a waste of tax payers money. With all the legal wrangling that’s been going on for years, it will have cost much more than £40,000, and the site has also been left in a mess.”

Mr Driver declined to comment about the compensation, and said that he wanted the matter to be resolved and to “get on with his life.”

He said: “I have been interested in renewable energy for a long time and remain interested.

“This has been very tiresome and I want to move on from the issue.”

The council said in a report its actions were made under Section 102 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act, which should “only to be taken as a last resort to remedy the most serious planning problems.”