IN these cash-strapped times, it would have been a slap in the face if South Lakeland District Council had been forced to shell out potentially thousands of pounds to cover the legal bill of a wind farm operator.

The battle of Kirkby Moor was hugely divisive and SLDC’s planning committee found itself between a rock and a hard place.

It ultimately ruled in favour of opposition residents in a decision later overturned by a planning inspector.

It is a fine line to walk trying to do right by residents, being fair to the applicants and achieving a balance between protecting the local environment and finding new sources of sustainable energy.

Wind farm applications inevitably generate polarised views.

Some remain certain that they are essential as part of the nation’s energy mix, while others remain highly sceptical of their overall contribution.

Residents opposed to the wind farm extension turned out in force at the public inquiry.

But not everyone felt the same, with the development having its fair share of supporters.

It does seem unfair that the public purse takes the hit when a developer wins an appeal.

Yet developers should not have to pay the price for racking up large legal costs contesting council decisions which can be found to be wrong.