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Wind turbine concerns for Battle of Flodden site

Plans to build two large wind turbines on a Northumberland hillside will spoil the setting of one of the most important historical sites in the Borders, critics have claimed.

The 34-metre high turbines are proposed on farmland about one kilometre from Flodden Field near Branxton, where King James 1V of Scotland was killed during a battle with an English army under the command of the Earl of Surrey in September 1513.

The Battle of Flodden will have its 500th anniversary next year, and the bid to put up wind turbines at nearby East Moneylaws Farm has sparked opposition from locals who fear the site’s historic character and setting will be damaged.

Forty objections have been received to the planning application by farmer Robin Lathangie, including one from the charity Remembering Flodden Project, which manages the battlefield trail on the site.

On Tuesday county councillors will be recommended by planning officers to approve the scheme, after historic buildings and archaeology experts concluded that the two turbines will not cause significant harm to the battlefield site.

A report to the planning and environment committee says the impacts on Flodden Field are “not considered to be substantial” and are outweighed by the wider benefit of producing renewable energy.

Earlier this year Clive Hallam-Baker, chairman of the Remembering Flodden Project, visited the site with actor and military historian Robert Hardy, patron of the Battlefield Trust.

Yesterday Mr Hallam-Baker said the charity has “strong objections” to the two turbines planned on Moneylaws Hill, as they will be highly visible from the battlefield trail.

“The battlefield of Flodden is a vitally important historical asset, and is an essential part of the growth of tourism of this area,” he said. “It is considered to be one of the most important military sites in the British Isles, and is probably the best preserved and least spoilt.

“It would be a travesty to have this site over-shadowed by what is in effect an industrial development.”

A report to Tuesday’s meeting says Grade II-listed buildings, the Flodden Memorial and the Church of St Paul’s at Branxton, are within two kilometres of the proposed turbines.

It adds: ”It is not considered that the wind turbines would affect the setting of this heritage asset as views of the turbines would be completely obscured by the topography and existing built development.”

In addition, officers feel the machines would not result in “substantial harm” to the battlefield heritage asset, because of their size and distance from the Flodden site.