9 January 2012

Wind turbines to blight Naseby landscape

They don't look happy either. Photo: Dirk Ingo Franke (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A wind farm will be built near Naseby battlefield, despite fierce opposition.

Energy company Eon won their appeal to erect six 400ft turbines on the Kelmarsh Estate after local residents, Daventry Council, English Heritage and the Battlefield Trust had all warned that views of the battlefield site will be severely compromised ...

The plans has originally been blocked by the Council, but were overturned by national planning inspector Paul Griffiths. His final report details a number of reasons why the wind farm should go ahead, assessing the effect on local heritage, the environmental and living conditions.

On balance he decided that the greater benefits of meeting renewable energy targets outweighed any effect on local heritage.

The turbines are to be erected on the estate of Kelmarsh Hall, a grade 1-listed house run by a charitable trust, and while the views from the Hall are to be affected, the inspector (and obviously the trust) are satisfied that the contribution to its upkeep generated by the turbines would outweigh this (the Hall is in need of £1.5 of repairs).

The battlefield, unfortunately, has no similar payoff. Griffiths agreed that the wind farm would cause harm to the site but concluded that:

  • any interpretor of the battlefield today has to use a significant amount of imagination anyway to block out field boundaries and the A14;
  • the turbines are proposed to be removed after 25 years - which "in terms of the age of the designated heritage assets affected, and the period that they can reasonably be expected to endure, it is relatively insignificant."

It should be noted that other 'heritage assets' in the village of Haselbech were also considered, each similarly deemed by the inspector to be detrimantally affected by the turbines.

Local MP Chris Heaton-Harris has called the decision an "absolute joke" and campaigners are now calling on the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to overturn it.

The site is a particular blow for Naseby battlefield given the recent approval of a visitor centre to be built there.

The final planning decision document.
Eons proposals, including a map of the proposed site

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