Council set to make U-turn over Felkington turbines

Frank and Clare Dakin at the Duddo Stone Circle.

Frank and Clare Dakin at the Duddo Stone Circle.

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Councillors are being advised to refuse plans for a pair of 34.5m-tall wind turbines at Felkington Farm, near Norham.

Planning officers are recommending that the scheme be turned down because of the impact it would have on the nearby Duddo Stones.

It represents a major turnaround for the council after it recommended approval of the application in January.

A decision at that time was deferred because the views of Duddo Parish Council had not been taken into account.

Since then councillors have made a site visit which, together with the strong objection of the parish council and the approval on appeal of a 74m-tall turbine at Shoreswood, appears to have reversed planning opinion.

Officers say the Felkington turbines, together with the Shoreswood mast, would collectively lead to an impact of ‘substantial harm’ to the monument’s setting.

John Dowsett, principal planning officer, said: “The proposed wind turbines are located within an area where the landscape is capable of accommodating the development and where there will be no significant impacts.

“However, the proposed turbines in conjunction with the recently approved Shoreswood wind turbine will cause substantial harm to the setting of the Duddo Stones scheduled ancient monument.”

The application, which has also attracted seven objections from local residents, is a commercial venture that would export electricity to the National Grid.

Duddo Stones guardian Clare Dakin has indicated legal action is a possibility if the plan is approved.

Fellow protester Don Brownlow said: “Local people will welcome the recommendation to refuse this application. We are already trying to come to terms with the decision by a planning inspector to approve a 74m turbine at Shoreswood Farm, near the Duddo Stone Circle.

“The approval of two more 34.5m turbines, in addition to the existing 20m turbine at Felkington Farm, would clearly have an unacceptable impact on the setting of this magnificent monument.”

The council’s planning and environment committee meeting is on Tuesday night.

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