The very essence of stone circles is their “setting” so you’d think the surroundings of the most complete and dramatically situated Northumbrian stone circle would be sacrosanct.
But perhaps not. A wind turbine planning application has been made there and not for the first time. A previous attempt was rejected and another is currently subject to appeal. This third, current plan is to build two turbines with tip heights of 34.5m just 1.8km away from the monument. The Parish Council and local residents have objected saying it would cause “a significant adverse visual impact on the stones” but here’s something very strange: County Council planning officers are recommending the County Council approve the scheme on the grounds that:
“The turbines would not be intrusive in views approaching the monument from the south (via the signed route) and would not interrupt the open views to the north (across the Tweed), north-west (Lammermuir Hills), west (Eildon Hills) and south-west (Cheviots) which inform an understanding of the setting and significance of the monument. The proposed development would therefore not cause ‘substantial harm’ to the setting and significance of Duddo Stone Circle.”
What chance do the Parish Council and local people have against that expert-sounding opinion and what chance is there that the County Council will listen to them rather than the experts? Well every chance actually, if they reflect that in truth the planning officers know diddly squat about why the circle was built just there or which views were significant. No-one does! So they’ve no business guessing and then advising the Council accordingly. Only the Parish Council and the local residents have it exactly right: “the proposal will have a significant adverse visual impact on the stones“.
Curiouser and Curiouser!!!
This matter was due to have been determined by the County Council last Tuesday night but it has just emerged that it wasn’t. A council spokesperson said it had been deferred because “comments from Duddo Parish Council had not been included in the committee report due to an oversight” !!
Hopefully, the delay will be beneficial as the planning officers can now amend their report to make clear that their own advice was based on pure speculation whereas the objections of the Parish Council are based on pure fact!