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Bid to protect Darwen Tower from wind turbines

Darwen Tower will be protected from ‘dominating’ wind turbine developments to preserve an iconic landmark for the borough, new council guidelines propose.

The blueprint governing siting the giant windmills says key considerations are the effect on the landscape and local homes.

It highlights the 115-year-old listed structure as a key view, not just for the town, but Blackburn with Darwen as a whole.

Councillors will debate the new ‘Guide for Developers’ tomorrow.

It stresses that, when the planning committee makes decisions on applications, members must balance the environmental advantages of generating ‘green’ energy against the impact on the landscape and local residents.

Members of the committee have identified two sites as suitable – the area below Winter Hill and above Bel-thorn, and land off Bolton Road, between Bull Hill and Edgworth.

The guide pledges ‘strategic’ views will be protected from encroachment by wind farms.

It rules out developments with an adverse impact on the landscape, or historic sites, highlighting the highly visible 85ft building opened in 1898 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

The guide states: “Darwen Tower is a Grade Two listed building and a key landmark in Blackburn with Darwen.

“As well as being highly visible from within the urban area of Darwen, it is also seen from many more distant locations in the borough and contributes significantly to the area’s sense of place.

“Wind turbine development which interferes with, or dominates, views of Darwen Tower, either local or distant, will be considered contrary to policy by virtue of its impact on landscape character and on the public’s appreciation of the heritage asset.”

Lib Dem planning spokesman Paul Browne, who represents Sudell ward, in Darwen, said: “It is absolutely right to protect Darwen Tower. When people coming back see it, they know they are home. They don’t want to see a forest of wind turbines.”

New borough environment chief and former planning chairman Jim Smith said: “The tower is an important landmark which must be protected. We need wind turbines, but in the right place.”