Campaign for the Protection of Rural England objects


 Campaign for the Protection of Rural England  Warwickshire Branch                                          

41A Smith St

Warwick CV34 4JA

Tel/Fax 01926 494597

Development Team

Rugby Borough Council                                                                                    13 July 2011

Town Hall

Evreaux Way

Rugby CV21 2RR   

Attn: Nigel Reeves


Dear Sir

App R10/2303 – Land at Cestersover Farm, Churchover, CV23 0QP

Windfarm of 9 turbines up to 126.5m in height, substation compound and buildings, access road and associated development

CPRE Warwickshire strongly objects to the proposed windfarm at Churchover.

Churchover is a rural village which has retained its character by strict planning control despite the building of the M6 motorway and the spread of Rugby up to the motorway. To the north in Leicestershire are the town of Lutterworth and the Magna Park distribution centre (in Harborough District). Because of these past developments, protection of the intervening area of open countryside is all the more important.

The village of Churchover is wholly a Conservation Area, the Conservation Area boundary being larger than the village boundary defined for development control (see Rugby Local Plan 2006 – Inset Map 11). Conservation Areas which cover a wider area than the village’s extent are unusual and this emphasises the important of Churchover’s rural character.

Cestersover Farm is on high ground, the High Cross plateau between the Avon valley and the basin of the Soar to the north.  At up to 130m OD it is only 10m lower than the highest point in this landscape, the 140m point on Fosse Way south of the historic High Cross crossroads between the Fosse and Watling Street. The area has a general historic value as a crossing point of the original Roman colonisation.

The Warwickshire Landscape Guidelines [Dunsmore, High Cross Plateau and Mease Lowlands Volume] apply to this location. The more recent Rugby Borough area landscape assessment of 2006 goes into more detail but does not alter the principles of the WLG.

They describe the High Cross plateau as ‘a sparsely populated  agricultural region distinguished by wide rolling ridges and valleys and a strong rural character’. Its overall character is defined as ‘A large scale, open rolling landscape characterised by wide views and a strong impression of ‘emptiness’ and space’. The features are:

  • A rolling plateau dissected by broad valleys
  • A medium  to large scale, often poorly defined field pattern
  • A sparsely populated landscape of hamlets and isolated manor farmsteads
  • Deserted medieval village sites surrounded by extensive areas of ‘empty’ countryside
  • Pockets of permanent pasture often with ridge and fiurrow
  • Prominent belts of woodland

The Guidelines also state ‘Field pattern tends to be a relatively minor element in this landscape as the eye is naturally drawn to distant skylines rather than foreground views. The impression is particularly noticeable from the Watling Street in the vicinity of High Cross and again around Churchover’  (p18).

The Management strategy and landscape guidelines for planning decisions for the High Cross plateau landscape is set out at pp34-35.  The key aims are:

  • Maintain and enhance the distinctive historic character of the landscape
  • Conserve the historic pattern of large hedged fields, with priority given to strengthening and restoring primary hedgelines
  • Conserve the wooded character of mature hedgerow and roadside oaks
  • Restocking of plantation ancient woodlands

The proposed windfarm would conflict with the Landscape Guidelines. These give no support to such intrusive and discordant features. The openness and large-scale views that gives the High Cross plateau its fundamental character would be lost over all of its eastern part if the 9 wind turbines are permitted at Churchover.

An indication of the impact can be gained from the way in which the two existing turbines sited among the warehousing at DIRFT east of Rugby, which are at a lower level (@105m OD) can nevertheless be seen from a number of viewpoints, and intrude in valuable view in some directions. The proposed Churchover turbines would be much more visible and affect views in more directions and of more importance.

CPRE supports the objections made from the locality which analyse impacts in more detail.

The application should be firmly refused on grounds of harm to the landscape and the setting of the Churchover Conservation Area, and the conflict with the Warwickshire Landscape Guidelines.

CPRE notes that the East of Rugby (Radio Station) site is proposed in the Core Strategy for up to 6,200 dwellings. These dwellings and the warehousing proposed east of the A5 could contribute to renewable energy by a requirement that they be fitted with solar-panels and energy-saving equipment. Houses built in this way would be a much larger contribution to Rugby’s planning for renewable energy than the very limited power that nine wind turbines at Churchover could offer.

Yours faithfully


Technical Secretary

CPRE Warwickshire Branch