An application to erect a trio of wind turbines near the top of a hill in rural north east Fife has been decisively rejected.
Andrew Simpson wanted to erect the cluster at Balmeadowside Farm on the site of a former telecommunications tower near Prospect Hill, which is situated within the Lomond Hills area of great landscape value.
But members of north east Fife area committee almost unanimously threw out the application amid criticism of planning officials for recommending approval when it appeared to contravene Fife Council’s own policy.
The only councillor to favour the proposal was Tim Brett of Taybridgehead, who failed to find a seconder.
Planner Mary Stewart was challenged after admitting that the countryside watchdog Scottish Natural Heritage had not been consulted on the proposal – but maintained that that had not been necessary because officials had not considered that the impact of the windfarm would be detrimental.
She said that there was ‘some confusion’ over consultee status and that bodies such as SNH were statutory consultees in some cases but not in others.
Councillor Ron Caird of Taybridgehead, who moved refusal, said that the development was contrary to policies in the St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan.
He was seconded by Howe of Fife councillor David MacDiarmid, who commented: “How can we protect the beautiful countryside we hold so dear to us if we ignore policy?
“What is the point of having these policies if we are going to ignore them?”
The proposed turbines would have been 30.6 metres in height and about 50 metres apart, situated about 1km north of the A913 Cupar to Newburgh road.
A previous application for a single 37 metre turbine on the same site was also refused.