Turbine saga may finally be at its end

Duddo stone circle. Picture by Don Brownlow Photography
Duddo stone circle. Picture by Don Brownlow Photography

A long-running saga over a bid for a wind turbine near an ancient monument in north Northumberland may finally be over after the Secretary of State agreed the appeal should be refused.

This decision, on the proposed 74-metre turbine at Shoreswood Farm, near Ancroft, which sparked objections from many wishing to protect the 4,000-year-old Duddo stone circle, was the second time the Government had intervened on this application.

In December 2014, the Planning Inspectorate notified interested parties that the Secretary of State had recovered the Shoreswood appeal decision and would have the final say, taking into consideration the recommendation of the Planning Inspector, Richard McCoy, as it ‘involved a renewable energy development’.

In September that year, the Gazette reported that a community group – The Guardians of the Stones – had issued a call to arms in the latest battle to protect the ancient stones after the original appeal approval was quashed by the then Minister for Communities and Local Government, Kris Hopkins.

The original scheme was unanimously refused by Northumberland County Council’s planning committee in October 2012, following the advice of planning officers and heritage experts.

The applicants appealed and a planning inspector subsequently overturned the decision, before a legal claim was made to the High Court, seeking to quash this decision.

But before the case came to court, the appeal approval was quashed and a different planning inspector – Mr McCoy – was appointed to decide the case.