March 6, 2013

Fury at wind turbines plan near Flodden battlefield

by Brian Daniel, The Journal | Mar 6 2013 |

A fight over the siting of wind turbines close to a historic Northumberland battlefield is to be revisited, 500 years on from the bloody conflict.

Last year a farmer living near the site where England and Scotland fought in 1513 sought to be allowed to site two engines on his land.

He was defeated amid overwhelming opposition from nearby residents and heritage champions alarmed at the prospect of turbines so close to the ancient battlefield.

But now the farmer has lodged an appeal meaning the wind row will be revived in this the 500th anniversary of the famous battle.

Robin Lathangie, of East Moneylaws Farm at Cornhill, sought planning permission for 34m turbines.

The site was on a hillside about a kilometre from Flodden Field near Branxton, where King James IV of Scotland was killed during a battle with an English army under the control of the Earl of Surrey.

The application generated 60 letters of objection, including one from the local charity Remembering Flodden Project, which manages the battlefield trail on the site.

Opponents claimed the turbines would spoil the setting of one of the country’s most important historical sites.

Northumberland County Council planning officers recommended the application be approved, citing the views of historic buildings and archaeology experts that the engines would not cause significant harm to the battlefield.

However, the county council’s planning and environment committee voted unanimously to refuse, ruling the turbines would cause unacceptable harm to the Flodden Battlefield asset, and have too big an impact on the local landscape.

Objectors were delighted by the decision, but the farmer’s agent said he was likely to appeal. Mr Lathangie has now lodged a challenge, which will be contested by the county council.

Both sides have requested that the matter is conducted by the inspector through written representations, rather than a hearing.

The appeal will be determined in the year when celebrations are planned to mark 500 years since the Battle of Flodden.

Clive Hallam-Baker, chairman of the Remembering Flodden Project, who lives at Branxton near Cornhill, has produced a photomontage showing how the turbines would appear from the battlefield.

He said: “It overlooks an iconic historic site. They are going to spoil the view. I shall do whatever little bit I can to oppose it. There are quite a few people working to oppose it. We will continue to do so.

“It is a great disappointment, especially in this year of the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden.

“We have had a lot of visitors and a lot of publicity, it is not going to do anything whatsoever for the local tourist industry and the local heritage industry.”

Mr Lathangie’s agent, Berwick-based renewable energy expert Simon Maden, said: “The appeal has been lodged. It will run its course and we will see what happens.”

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