Plans for wind turbines close to Flodden Battlefield are thrown out

Plans for wind turbines near the Flodden Battlefield in Northumberland have been dismissed following ministerial intervention

The memorial near Flodden Field, Branxton
The memorial near Flodden Field, Branxton

A battle over the siting of wind turbines close to the spot where England and Scotland fought five centuries ago has been won by objectors following ministerial intervention.

A farmer living near the site of the Battle of Flodden in 1513 sought to be allowed to site two engines on his land.

He was defeated amid overwhelming opposition from nearby residents and heritage champions alarmed at the prospect of turbines so close to the ancient battlefield.

But the farmer last year lodged an appeal meaning the wind row was revived in the 500th anniversary of the famous clash.

It has now emerged that secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles decided to recover the appeal, giving him the final decision, and that he has now sided with his planning inspector in refusing.

The decision has been welcomed by battlefield guardians who voiced delight that the region’s “history and heritage” is being protected.

Robin Lathangie sought planning permission for 34-metre turbines on his East Moneylaws Farm at Cornhill.

The proposed site was on a hillside about a kilometre from Flodden Field near Branxton, where King James IV of Scotland was killed during a battle with an English army under the control of the Earl of Surrey.

His application generated 60 letters of objection, including one from the Remembering Flodden Project, which manages the battlefield trail on the site.

Opponents claimed the turbines would spoil the setting of one of the country’s most important historical sites.

Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee voted unanimously to refuse.

Clive Hallam-Baker
Clive Hallam-Baker

Mr Lathangie lodged a challenge but it has now emerged that Mr Pickles decided in April to recover the appeal in order to make the final decision.

The secretary of state has now agreed with the recommendation of the planning inspector who conducted the appeal in deciding that permission should be refused.

Clive Hallam-Baker, chairman of the Remembering Flodden Project, who lives at Branxton near Cornhill, welcomed the decision.

He said: “The field was so dependant on the topography and then to go sticking these whirly things right on the hillside right in the line of sight would very much have detracted from the calmness, the unspoilt effect of the battlefield.”

The decision follows minister for communities and local government Kris Hopkins’ decision to quash the planning permission given for a turbine close to the nearby Duddo Stone Circle, a scheduled ancient monument.

Mr Hallam-Baker added: “The borders where we live, there is history oozing out of the ground.

“It is now so much more relevant with the potential of England and Scotland splitting up. Perhaps our history and heritage up here is beginning to come to the fore a little bit.”

Mr Lathangie’s agent, Simon Maden, declined to comment on the minister’s decision.

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