Wind turbine refused as harmful in views of listed farmhouse

The secretary of state recovered a proposal for a wind turbine in Northamptonshire, overturning an inspector's recommendation to approve. The secretary of state considered the harm to a listed farmhouse would not be small and less than substantial with the turbine appearing in many views to and from the farmhouse.

The scheme was for a 45m high wind turbine at a farm in SLA countryside and viewed in the context of a farm complex and a grade II listed farmhouse on a country estate. Although the benefits of wind turbines in terms of the provision of renewable energy were considered as a clear material consideration, the inspector considered that in enacting Section 66(1), Parliament had intended that the desirability of preserving the setting of listed buildings should not simply be given careful consideration for the purpose of deciding whether there would be some harm, but that it should be given considerable importance and weight in the balancing exercise. This would be even where ‘less than substantial’ harm was identified. The wind turbine would be set relatively close to the listed building, forming a prominent part of the complex and appearing in many views to and from the listed building. The secretary of state decided that the addition of a large piece of modern infrastructure, of a different scale and appearance to most other features to be found in the countryside, would inevitably have an impact, and to be given ‘moderate’ weight in the planning balance. Overall the secretary of state concluded that the potential benefits to renewable energy and farm diversification, did not outweigh the moderate harm to area character and appearance and the substantial weight to the impact on the setting of the listed farmhouse.

Inspector: Graham Dudley; Inquiry

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