Plans to build wind turbines near a historic north-east castle were yesterday backed by councillors, despite warnings from nearby residents that they could have a severe impact on the area.
The scheme at Strath of Brydock, Alvah, near Banff, has also fallen foul of Historic Scotland and council planners because it is too close to grade A-listed Inchdrewer Castle. But yesterday, the application by agricultural firm A. J. Duncan of Muirden, Turriff, was supported by members of the Banff and Buchan area committee.
The councillors voted seven to three in favour of deferring the scheme for a final say by Scottish ministers.
The vote followed a showdown between residents and the applicant’s farm manager, David Green.
Edna Gardner, who lives near the proposed development, said: “The tourists who come to he Banff area come for the scenery – not to look at wind turbines.
“People might think we, the residents, are insignificant, but we are very important to the rural community.
“Turbines will contribute nothing to the local community. The only person who will benefit from this is the applicant.”
Nearby resident Stuart Montrose also addressed the committee.
He said: “There will be a detrimental impact on the values of people’s homes.
“With these massive turbines nearby who would want to buy a house here?
“And who is going to compensate the people who already have.”
Mr Montrose presented the committee with a petition against the scheme signed by 35 people.
He also raised concerns about road safety.
He said: “If drivers take their eyes off the road to look at these things for even a second it could lead to a tragedy.”
Mr Green said the scheme was important for the future of his farming business.
“We are encouraged to look at ways of diversifying all the time,” he said.
“The potential of windfarm was identified and this was seen as a logical step forward for us.
“Anything that can be done to preserve this business for the local area has to be a good thing.”
The plans include two 330ft turbines and new access tracks.
Fraserburgh councillor Ian Tait said: “In principle, it is always my instinct to support green energy projects.
“And if this can support a local business than that is commendable as well.
“Personally, I can see little to oppose this.”
The 16th-century Inchdrewer Castle is 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 Jamie Buchan
28 March 2007
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