Councillors are being advised to reject plans for a 74m tall wind turbine at Shoreswood, near Ancroft, because of its ‘significant and unacceptable’ impact on the 4,000 year-old Duddo stone circle.
The scheduled ancient monument, created in the Neolithic period, lies less than two miles from Fenwick Jackson’s farmland where West Lothian-based 3R Energy Solutions want to install an 800kW turbine.
A report to be discussed by Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee on Tuesday recommends refusal of the scheme.
There have been 90 letters of objection from 86 individuals, as well as three parish councils, raising concerns about its visual impact and effect on tourism, whilst also pointing out that appeal decisions for proposed wind farms at nearby Moorsyde and Toft Hill were dismissed due to the sensitivity of the setting.
Clare Dakin from Duddo said: “As farmers of the land surrounding the monument we can testify to the steady trickle of visitors. It’s our strong view that visitors will feel disbelief should this application be permitted.”
Wind farm protestor Don Brownlow added: “The costs of this proposal to the community and the tourism landscape of the area clearly outweigh its very limited, mainly private, benefits.”
Simon Taylor of Shoreswood Hall Farmhouse said: “It would be a tragedy to destroy this beautiful landscape with even one large eyesore like this.”
Lord Walton of Detchant stated: “I believe that a rash of wind turbines is slowly damaging the wonderful landscape of Northumberland beyond repair. Enough is enough.”
The application, which would save around 900 tonnes of Co2 per year, has also received 14 letters of support highlighting the importance of renewable energy, the need to support rural businesses and the fact that the proposed development would reduce fuel costs for the farm.
Jennifer Laidlaw of Shoreswood Farm Cottages said: “I believe that wind turbines like this will play a valuable part in creating environmentally friendly power now and for the future and we should be encouraging their installation and use.”
The Duddo Stone Circle is located on the southern fringes of the Milfield Basin, one of the most important prehistoric landscapes in the country and is the only surviving hilltop stone circle in Northumberland.
Case officer Frances Wilkinson said: “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.
“Significant weight does need to be given to the benefits of the proposal, however, the harm to the setting of the Duddo Stone Circle SAM (scheduled ancient monument) is considered to outweigh these benefits. The proposal is consequently considered to be unacceptable.”