English Heritage and the National Trust have united in a High Court battle against plans for a wind farm at a historic site in Northamptonshire.
Plans for five turbines were rejected in an area north of Catshead Wood by East Northamptonshire District Council in 2010 following local opposition.
The developers Barnwell Manor Wind Energy Ltd won an appeal for four turbines.
The High Court in London will hear arguments over the next two days.
Residents said the plan would have a negative impact on nearby historic sites, like Lyveden New Bield, a 17th Century lodge.
English Heritage and the National Trust say if they lose the landmark case the protection of other important historic sites around the country could be undermined.
They argue the area in Northamptonshire has “a great many top-dollar heritage assets” and defeat will “turn government policy on conservation on its head”.
In a unique move, English Heritage and the National Trust are supporting the council’s legal bid to block plans for four wind turbines in an area north of Catshead Woods on farmland at Sudborough.
The district council rejected the wind farm plans over fears the heritage of the area would be put at risk, but developers appealed, and in March last year public inquiry inspector Paul Griffiths allowed the construction of four turbines.
Each turbine will have a hub height of 85m (278ft), a rotor diameter of approximately 93m (305ft) and total maximum height of 126.5m (415ft).
Morag Ellis QC, representing the council, argued at the High Court in London that the inspector’s decision was legally flawed and he had underestimated the harm that would be caused.
Ms Ellis told Mrs Justice Lang that the way the inspector had worded his decision was “genuinely mysterious and wholly inadequate”.
He had concluded the presence of the turbines “would not erode a reasonable observer’s understanding or appreciation of the significance of the designated heritage assets – and they would therefore have no harmful impact on their settings”.
Ms Ellis said: “That is an extraordinary conclusion. There are a great many top-dollar heritage assets involved here.
“This decision turns government policy on conservation on its head.”
The case continues.
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