Plans for two wind turbines close to Northumberland’s answer to Stonehenge have been thrown out by a government planning inspector.
The proposals for two engines near 4,000-year-old Duddo stone circle have been dismissed following an appeal against Northumberland County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission.
On the back of the rejection, a resident who objected to the planning application has voiced his hopes that developers will now “leave this remarkable place in peace.”
The application for engines with a tip height of 34.5m was for land north of Felkington Farm, at Norham, near Berwick, home of Cameron Martin.
It was submitted by wind firm Fine Energy.
Nine residents and Duddo Parish Council claimed the proposal would have a significant adverse visual impact on the stone circle, 1.8km away, and that the turbines had not been sited so as to minimise any impact on the scheduled ancient monument.
The county council initially recommended the application be approved – but it was deferred after the parish council’s objection was not reported to members.
On the back of the deferral, a planning inspector allowed another turbine to be erected in the area at Shoreswood.
This prompted the county council to have a change of heart on the Felkington turbines, with officers recommending they be refused.
Councillors subsequently followed that advice, but Fine Energy appealed.
Now, a different planning inspector has chosen to dismiss the appeal.
He concluded: “The proposal would cause harm to the significance of a heritage asset of considerable importance by introducing an incongruous development within its setting.”
Don Brownlow, a former parish councillor who is now clerk and who runs the Windbyte website which monitors turbine development in the region, said: “Back in 2010, we had a planning inspector recognise that Duddo Stones are ‘a serene and remarkable place’ with ‘a very special atmosphere.’
“And this latest inspector, has gone beyond the findings of the local refusal by county councillors in finding that the small benefits of the turbines did not outweigh the damage to the setting of the Duddo Stones.
“Let us hope that turbine speculators will now leave this remarkable place in peace.”
The Journal attempted to contact Fine Energy and Mr Martin but neither returned our calls.
The approval for the turbine at Shoreswood has since been quashed by the government following a legal challenge by Penfar Farming, which owns the land on which the stones sit.
That proposal is currently being determined by the same inspector who has refused the Felkington turbines.
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