A community group has issued a call to arms in the latest battle to protect the ancient Duddo Stone Circle from wind turbine development.
Guardians of the Stones are asking people to register their opposition to the proposal for a 74m (242ft) wind turbine at Shoreswood Farm – the same size as the one at Steps of Grace, Berwick.
“This turbine would have a similar impact on the horizon near to the Stones to that which the Steps of Grace turbine north of Berwick has had on the skyline above Berwick,” said Clare Dakin, whose family farm the land on which the Stones are sited.
“It would have a serious impact upon the experience of visitors to the Stone Circle as it would be visible on the skyline close to the stones for much of the 1km approach path, as well as being a prominent moving feature in the near landscape.”
The Shoreswood turbine was unanimously refused by Northumberland County Council’s planning committee in October 2012, following the advice of planning officers and heritage experts, because of its impacts on the setting of the ancient stones.
But the applicants appealed against the refusal, and a planning inspector later overturned the local decision and approved the scheme.
The Dakins then made a legal claim to the High Court, seeking to quash the Inspector’s decision. The case was due to be heard at the High Court in June this year. But, before it came to court, it was conceded that the Inspector had failed to demonstrate in his decision that he had given “great weight” to the conservation of designated heritage assets and to the fact that any harm to such assets “should require clear and convincing justification”.
The appeal approval was quashed, and costs were awarded to the claimants.
The appeal has now been returned to the Planning Inspectorate who has appointed a different planning inspector to decide the case.
“There is now an opportunity for people who value the setting of the Stone Circle to make their feelings known to a new planning inspector,” Mrs Dakin added.
“We are asking everybody to write to the Planning Inspectorate before the October 7 deadline to explain what the Stones mean to them and why they should be protected from being overshadowed by a large industrial wind turbine at Shoreswood Farm.”
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