SIR â€“ You call (Leading article, December 21) for Greg Clark, the minister responsible for redrafting the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), to â€śproduce another draft that is more precise and better definedâ€ť. One important area that requires urgent clarity is the positioning of wind farms close to heritage sites.
Despite Government assurances that â€śheritage protectionâ€ť is not being watered down, two disturbing appeal decisions in Northamptonshire have been upheld by Government-appointed inspectors. These show that the blind goal of â€śrenewable energy targetsâ€ť is nullifying the very idea of localism. They also undermine David Cameronâ€™s claim that heritage must be safeguarded in the planning process.
At Kelmarsh, six giant turbines will disfigure the historic Civil War battlefield of Naseby and greatly harm the setting of Kelmarsh Hall, described by Nikolaus Pevsner as â€śperfectâ€ť. Even the inspector admits the house is of the â€śhighestâ€ť significance and that the turbines will be â€śan obvious presenceâ€ť, as well as harming the adjoining field where English Heritage stages its annual Festival of History.
At Watford Lodge, too, turbines will spoil the setting of Ashby St Ledgers manor house, where the Gunpowder Plot was schemed. They will be visible from the celebrated gardens made by Gertrude Jekyll.
Heritage is a reason why so many people visit Britain every year. Heritage tourism contributes ÂŁ12 billion to the economy.
With Chris Huhne promising up to 32,000 wind turbines, clarity on where they can be sited is urgent. If the Planning Inspectorate uses renewable energy targets as a reason for agreeing schemes, regardless of impact, is there any point in a local democratic planning process?
Cllr Chris Millar
Leader, Daventry District Council
Chris Heaton-Harris MP (Con)
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