Wind turbines refused due to heritage asset harm

A recovered appeal for 5 wind turbines in Northamptonshire has been refused, contrary to an inspector's recommendation, due to harm to nearby heritage assets.

The secretary of state found that the proposal, located on agricultural land between two villages, would have a major adverse effect on the local landscape in the immediate setting of the turbines, reducing to moderate/major up to about 2.5km from the turbines and with no significant adverse impact beyond this distance. As to the likely visual effects, it was noted that the proposal would have significant adverse visual effects from 9 of 19 viewpoints assessed. The proposal would not, by reason of deprivation of outlook, unacceptably affect the amenities and the use of land and buildings which ought to be protected in the public interest. While noise from the turbines would be audible at nearby homes at times which would sometimes be heard at levels significantly above background levels, the imposition of suitable planning conditions could minimise such impacts and therefore little weight was attached to this in the planning balance. There was no compelling evidence that the proposal would give rise to unacceptable infrasound or adversely affect the health of local residents.

Heritage assets that were argued to be adversely impacted included a church, viaduct, castle, manor house and listed farm. The secretary of state found that overall, the minor to moderate adverse effects of the proposal on heritage assets would result in less than substantial harm to be weighed against the benefits of the scheme. He gave considerable importance and weight to the identified harm and to the desirability of preserving the setting of the listed buildings.

Inspector: John Woolcock; Inquiry

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