A bid to build a large wind turbine looks set to be rejected because of fears that it will ruin the setting of an ancient site described as Northumberland’s own version of Stonehenge.
Scottish company 3R Energy Solutions is seeking the green light for the 74 metre-high, 800 kilowatt machine on farmland at Shoreswood, south of Berwick. Next week county councillors will be recommended to refuse planning permission for the turbine because of its “significant and unacceptable” impact on the 4,000-year-old Duddo stone circle, less than two miles away.
The scheduled ancient monument is made up of five large blocks of stone, created in the Neolithic period, next to the hamlet of Duddo. The reasons for its creation are shrouded in mystery.
A 19th century dig revealed the roots of two additional stones, which it is believed were removed in the mid 1800s.
The circle, also known as The Women or the Singing Stones, stands on a small knoll overlooking the Tweed basin, and has been described as Northumberland’s Stonehenge.
The application to build the turbine at Shoreswood has been opposed by three local parish councils, and has generated 90 objections and 14 letters of support.
The county archaeologist says it would result in substantial harm to the setting and significance of the Duddo stones.
A report to the county council’s planning committee says the Duddo monument is on the southern fringes of the Milfield basin, one of the most important prehistoric landscapes in the country, and only surviving hilltop stone circle in Northumberland.
“The Duddo stone circle occupies an elevated position, is a prominent feature in the area, and its setting is considered to make an important contribution to its significance.”
The report says the turbine would introduce a vertical structure into what is an uncluttered view of the stones, and break the skyline before the monument comes into view.
“It is considered that the proposal would have a very damaging effect on the appreciation of the Duddo stone circle from the main approach, and that its setting would not be preserved.”
Anti-wind farm campaigner Andrew Joicey, who lives at New Etal, said: “The turbine will be visible from the site of the Duddo standing stones, diminishing the quality of the experience of visiting and appreciating this remarkable scheduled ancient monument.
“The Toft Hill wind farm proposal was refused permission because of its damaging impact on the setting of the Duddo stones.”
Meanwhile, county councillors are expected to agree to a site visit and public meeting before making a decision on controversial plans for a wind farm near a Northumberland hamlet.
Energiekontor UK wants to build five turbines, each 126.5 metres high, on farmland near Fenrother, north of Morpeth, which have been strongly opposed by many local residents. A report to next week’s planning committee says, so far, 255 letters of objection have been received by the council. The authority has been sent 329 letters of support, submitted via a standard letter.
Key issues to be considered in making a decision include impacts on landscape and views, residential amenity, aviation safety and roads, say planning officials.
Its setting is considered to make an important contribution to its significance
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