A bid to build a large wind turbine has been thrown out by councillors who shared local concerns it would ruin the setting of Northumberland’s answer to Stonehenge.
West Lothian-based 3R Energy Solutions wanted to install a 74m tall turbine on farmland belonging to Fenwick Jackson at Shoreswood, near Ancroft.
However, members of Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee backed their officers’ view that the turbine would have a ‘significant and unacceptable’ impact on the 4,000 year-old Duddo stone circle, less than two miles away.
It is understood the developer intends to appeal the decision but the council’s stance was welcomed by local residents who had submitted 90 letters of objection raising fears about its visual impact and effect on tourism.
There had also been dismay that the application made it this far given that appeal decisions for proposed wind farms at Moorsyde and Toft Hill were dismissed due to the sensitivity of the setting.
Clare Dakin from Duddo said: “This machine would stand at more than twice the height of the turbine built without planning permission at New Haggerston which has caused so much public comment.
“It would spoil the experience of visiting the stone circle, distracting the walkers arriving from the more popular southerly approach as they contemplate the meaning of the stones and their setting to the people who placed them there more than 4,000 years ago.
“Fortunately the council were able to support a recommendation of refusal meaning that they would be happy defend any appeal against their decision. I have heard that the applicant intends to appeal the council’s decision, well I suppose there is a huge income at stake, but I am confident that any appeal against this decision will fail.”
The 800kW turbine, which would have saved around 900 tonnes of Co2 per year, also received 14 letters of support highlighting the importance of renewable energy, the need to support rural businesses and the fact that the development would reduce fuel costs.
The scheduled ancient monument, made up of five large blocks of stone created in the Neolithic period, is also known as The Women or the Singing Stones. It has been described as Northumberland’s Stonehenge.
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