Appeal allows wind farm to be built close to Northamptonshire stately home

Controversial plans to build an eight-turbine wind farm close to a Grade I-listed stately home in Northamptonshire have been approved, after a public inquiry overturned a council's decision to block it.

Plans by renewable energy company Your Energy to build eight 125-metre turbines on land off Hillmorton Lane in Yelvertoft were rejected by Daventry District Council in November after councillors decided the plans would have a detrimental impact on nearby Stanford Hall.

But Your Energy challenged the decision and a public inquiry led by a Government-appointed planning inspector yesterday granted permission for the development, arguing visual impacts should be balanced against wider public benefit and saying the impact on the hall would not be substantial.

Bridget Savage, development manager for the wind farm, praised the outcome. She said: "We're pleased the inspector has found the site suitable for a wind farm.

"Our commitment to remain in contact with the community will continue, to ensure they are kept up-to-date with progress from here."

The wind farm, which will power the equivalent of 9,000 homes a year is expected to be operational some time in 2012.

It will be Your Energy's second in the county, following a 10-turbine scheme which opened near Burton Latimer in 2006.

News of the inspector's decision outraged the area's MP, Chris Heaton-Harris, who has pledged to take the matter up in Parliament.

He said: "I'm astounded, shocked and very cross. Everyone had overwhelmingly objected to this, so to see it overturned in this way is infuriating. I will certainly be bringing it up with the secretary of state."

Alan Hesketh, the chairman of the No Wind Farm at Yelvertoft (NoWAY) campaign group, said residents were also 'enormously disappointed' with the outcome.

He said: "We've put in a lot of work over the past couple of years and had tremendous support from villagers, parish councils and the district council's planning committee, but we've been put to one side in this case."