Councillors are to run the rule over controversial plans for a wind-turbine development near a castle on the outskirts of Banff.
The scheme for two turbines at Strath of Brydock, Alvah, has run into opposition from Historic Scotland and Aberdeenshire planners because it is close to Inchdrewer Castle.
Banff and Buchan councillors, who have been asked to decide on a planning application for the energy project, want to see the area first.
Committee chairman Councillor Sydney Mair, Macduff, said: “We will have a site visit to familiarise ourselves with the location.”
Historic Scotland claims the proposed turbines would be highly intrusive and break an otherwise unobstructed horizon.
They would sit on a hill above the castle, which is unoccupied but is a category-A listed structure.
Aberdeenshire planner James Welsh said: “Historic Scotland concludes that the visual effect of the turbines on Inchdrewer Castle would be severe.”
He said the planning service could not support the scheme as it went against council policy designed to safeguard the character or setting of historic buildings.
Mr Welsh said planners were also concerned at the effect the turbines would have on the wider landscape.
He said: “The turbines will sit at a considerable height above existing landforms and will have an overbearing effect on the landscape.”
Councillors are expected to visit the site next week, and the planning application will be considered at a future meeting of the Banff and Buchan area committee.
The centuries-old Inchdrewer Castle was the scene in 1713 of the murder of George, Lord Banff, and it was also damaged by fire at that time.
It is currently owned by Robin de la Lanne-Mirrlees, who is laird of Great Bernera in the Outer Hebrides.
More than 30 years ago, he carried out renovation work at the castle but the building has never been occupied since.
By John Thompson
8 March 2007
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