The setting of a historic church in an abandoned village was decisive in scotching plans for five giant wind turbines on the edge of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
St Decumanus’ Church, in Rhoscrowther, is one of only two in Britain dedicated to the Celtic saint and is grade 1 listed, together with a cross and a neighbouring schoolhouse.
Rhoscrowther has been deserted since it was devastated in 1994 by an explosion at the giant oil refinery nearby.
And, although St Decumanus’ is no longer a parish church, it is carefully maintained by the Friends of Friendless Churches charity.
Rhoscrowther Wind Farm Limited had wanted to build five, 100-metre tall, wind turbines within sight of the church.
It said the site in Refinery Road, Hundleston, close to the Valero Oil Refinery, is ideal for renewable energy generation.
But Pembrokeshire County Council disagreed and its refusal of planning permission was last year upheld by a government inspector.
The site, in an Enterprize Zone, is just outside the national park and is in an area considered suitable for a “small cluster” of two to three wind turbines.
But the inspector ruled, amongst other things, that the development would cause “substantial harm” to the setting of St Decumanus’, its cross and schoolhouse.
Dismissing the company’s challenge to that ruling, Mr Justice Hickinbottom said the inspector had carried out a proper balancing exercise.
He said the company had had a fair opportunity to put forward its arguments and it was for the inspector to assess the level of harm to the listed buildings.
St Decumanus was one of the Celtic saints who travelled to Somerset from South Wales during the seventh century, arriving on a raft with a cow for a companion.
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