Plans to build a 400ft wind turbine which would have towered above the legendary forests of Robin Hood have been thwarted – by a windmill.
Barnsdale Forest dates back centuries and featured in Russell Crowe’s 2010 blockbuster Robin Hood.
According to legend, Robin wooed Maid Marion in this South Yorkshire forest and married her in the local church.
So locals were devastated when plans were unveiled to fell a corner of the forest for the turbine.
A green energy company had been on the verge of clinching planning consent in January after a three-year battle against hundreds of objectors.
But now the Merry Men’s old stomping ground is safe after lawyers spotted a flaw in the planning application.
They said the turbine could spoil the setting of the existing 19th century fourstorey Grade Two listed windmill at Norton, under two miles away, and therefore the deal was off.
According to the Yorkshire version of the legend, Robin set up camp in Barnsdale because the area around the forest was wealthy.
History enthusiast Ron Firth, 73, said: “We are delighted. Sticking a wind turbine in the forest would have required masses of concrete and hardcore and the impact would have been disastrous.”
Oliver Newham, Woodland Trust lead campaigner, said: “We’re delighted that sense and reason has prevailed and a scheme that would have damaged ancient woodland has rightly been withdrawn.”
Steve Carney, boss of York-based Origin Energy, said the scheme had been designed to provide cheap energy to local homes.
“We did a history study and found out some fantastic things about Robin Hood. But that was all hundreds of years ago.
“We were trying to give money back to the community in the spirit of Robin. Some people just wanted any excuse to get the scheme sidelined, including persuading Natural England to reclassify the wood as ancient woodland to halt the turbines.
“We found a way round that. Doncaster Council recommended us for approval. It was all set to be passed.
“Then at the last minute a legal consultant advised them not to recommend approval because there was some residual harm to the grade two listed existing windmill, which does not even have sails.”
The company hopes to put forward a new scheme involving a single turbine outside the wood but this will involve another round of consultations and there is no date for this to take place.
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