The secretary of state agreed with an inspector that the scheme’s landscape and visual effects on local amenity would be acceptable. Subject to planning conditions, the secretary of state further agreed that the operation of the turbines would not give rise to unacceptable effects on amenity by virtue of either operational or construction noise. The scheme would also provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions but limited weight was given to the benefit to birds.
However, the secretary of state, like the inspector, found that its effects on the settings of two listed buildings, a house and barn, would be harmful to the settings and considerable weight was attributed to that harm. The turbines would be a step in the process of compromising the setting of the grade II buildings. It was also found that the nearby countryside, with its farmland character, was an important part of that setting. The scheme would significantly alter the character of the landscape in that the turbines would be perceived as a defining characteristic at distances of up to 1km. As the house and barn were inside the zone in which the character of the landscape would significantly change from agriculture to a character whose defining characteristics would include the wind turbines. While the harm to the listed buildings would be slight; the change in the landscape character would be to the detriment of the settings of the listed buildings in that the historic associations between the listed buildings and the landscape would be disturbed and diluted.
The scheme would also fail to protect prized tranquillity contrary to paragraph 123 of the NPPF, and moderate weight was attributed also a danger from an intensification of risk to aviation by virtue of factors associated with air traffic control and a nearby airfield. It was concluded that the material considerations that would arise from harm associated with the scheme would outweigh the benefits it would bring.
Inspector: JP Watson; Inquiry