Communities secretary Eric Pickles has refused permission for three wind turbines in Lincolnshire, ruling that the proposals would result in a ‘considerable level of harm’ to the significance of a local heritage asset.
East Lindsey District Council refused permission for the turbines on land adjacent to Louth Canal, near Tetney, Lincolnshire, in April 2013.
The scheme proposed the erection of three wind turbines up to 113.5m to blade tip on a site surrounding by agricultural land approximately 1.4km to the south of Tetney.
East Lindsey District Council’s reasons for refusing the application included concerns that the proposed development, by reason of its siting, scale and moving parts, would have an adverse impact on the Grade II listed Thoresby Warehouse and its setting.
Appellant PFR (Louth Canal) Limited appealed the council’s decision, but in a decision note issued last week Pickles agreed with the recommendation of planning inspector Zoë Hill, who said that planning permission should be refused.
Pickles agreed with the inspector’s conclusion that the proposals would cause “considerable harm to the significance of Thorseby Warehouse which falls not far short of substantial harm”.
The secretary of state agreed with the inspector that the harm to the setting of the Grade II listed building “would not be outweighed by the benefits that would be produced by way of renewable energy production of the level proposed, and the associated economic benefits and modest habitat benefits”.
Pickles concluded that the proposed scheme “is not, and cannot be made, acceptable”.
The following is a summary of the appeal decision filed by the Secretary.
The secretary of state recovered a scheme for three wind turbines in Lincolnshire which was dismissed as it would harm a listed canalside warehouse heritage asset and its setting; and a nearby property which would become an unattractive and unpleasant place to live through noise and the scheme appearing visually oppressive.
The scheme for three wind turbines of 113m height was proposed in an AONB coastal plain and seen prominently from the canalside listed warehouse, 500m from the nearest proposed turbine and 620m from a nearby farmhouse. The secretary of state considered the limited and localised harm arising from the proposal would not materially harm the landscape. However, the’ Barnwell Manor’ and later ‘ Podington’ court judgements in regard to the importance of preserving the settings of listed buildings were considered at some length as had posed a conflict in terms of the correct interpretation of s.66; the Court of Appeal having given an authoritative ruling supporting the findings of Justice Lang in the earlier case. The harm to the warehouse was at the heart of the council’s heritage objection. The inspector considered the harm to the warehouse, and its setting would not be enhanced or preserved and was a matter of considerable importance for even if the harm was less than substantial, this did not amount to a less than substantial objection to the grant of planning permission. The secretary of state in turn found the harm to the listed warehouse was not substantial, but still of a significant level to which considerable importance and weight should be attached in the planning balance. This was largely because of the erosion of the prominence of the building and its canal side way-marking function which would be seriously diminished by the proposed development. The secretary of state agreed with the inspector’s reasonings in terms of the significant harmful and oppressive visual impacts of the proposal on a nearby dwelling for when seen cumulatively with a nearby wind farm, the property would become an unattractive and unpleasant place to live. The secretary of state considered that despite the likely adherence to the 36dB noise level that would be set, and the general acceptability of that level above the standard 35dB level, the noise that was still likely to be heard on occasions would exacerbate the feeling of being oppressed through the close proximity of the nearest turbine occupying a wide angle of views from front south-facing windows and conservatory; detracting from the day to day life of the occupant.
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