Councillors are being recommended to refuse a 200ft wind turbine in the heart of David Hockney country, which it is claimed will spoil views of the tallest standing stone in England.
WD Sellers & Sons want to install a 218ft turbine within half a mile of Rudston, near Driffield, reputedly England’s oldest inhabited village, home of the monolith and where the author of South Riding Winifred Holtby was born in 1898.
The farming business, which extends to 1,550 acres, insists any “minimal” harm will be “far outweighed” by the turbine’s ability to produce green electricity, conforming with Government policy.
However, a string of objectors, including 129 people who have signed postcards in protest, including a retired vicar and Lady MacDonald of Sleat, are objecting to the “visual intrusion” from the turbines on views from the village, churchyard and 25ft monolith.
Hockney painted along Woldgate, the minor Roman road from Bridlington to Kilham, which runs along the ridge a mile from the village, and villagers say if other turbines are built – particularly the proposed Thornholme wind farm, which will have six large turbines, “he would have a lot of white turbines to paint”.
Planners are recommending refusal at a meeting on Thursday following an objection from the Ministry of Defence, which says there would be “unacceptable interference” to the radar at RAF Staxton Wold seven miles away.
There were 13 letters of objection and four in support.
Vice chairman of Rudston parish council Neil Watson said the village was split, with 30 per cent pro-wind power, 40 per cent against and 30 per cent with no view. “There are very polarised views. Personally I think it will be very obvious; it will spoil the view.
“We spoke to them and they reduced it marginally, but they moved it uphill making it even more obvious.
“There’s been more consultation than most but it’s not made a vast amount of difference.”
Maureen Bell, of Bridlington and District Civic Society, which is objecting, said they had been horrified by the number of large single turbines springing up in the Wolds, an area of high landscape value.
She said: “We are concerned there are so many of these large turbines which completely spoil the view. The local authority and Visit Hull and East Yorkshire are trying to promote David Hockney country. People will turn up and find instead of fantastic views what they have got is an industrial landscape.”
In a 12-page report English Heritage says the turbine could have a “potentially harmful impact” on Rudston parish church and the Rudston Monolith “arguably the most important prehistoric landscape monument in the county.”
It adds: “The resulting harm to their heritage significance would be less than substantial, but nevertheless significant, and we would recommend that the local authority should carefully weigh the scale of harm or loss of significance against the benefits claimed for the application.”
Louis Fell, a partner of agents George F White, which put in the application, said they had been constrained in where they could site the turbine.
He said: “We were really limited to where we could put it because he has a farm on the other side of Rudston on the Woldgate road which would be much more visual. We were also constrained by telecoms links. We took into account the view from the monolith and reduced the height. We did a lot of public consultation and we have offered to try and assist the community in reopening the Bosville Arms and that offer is still available.”
The monolith, which dates from the early Neolithic to the early Bronze Age, stands at the centre of a complex of archeological sites including henges, settlements and barrows.
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