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Countryside turbines plan rejected

A controversial plan to put up a pair of wind turbines in the central Fife countryside has been thrown out by councillors.

Members of the Kirkcaldy area committee said they felt the proposal for the two 20-metre-tall structures at Newton Farm, near Auchtertool, was a “step too far” in the area, given the fact there is a single wind turbine at nearby Pitkinnie Farm and a larger commercial wind farm to the north at Little Raith.

The committee had previously deferred its decision for a month to allow members to visit the site but unanimously agreed to reject the application – going against the advice of planners – when they met at Kirkcaldy Town House on Wednesday.

Much of the discussion centred on the planned turbines’ position in relation to Auchtertool Kirk, which is around 350 metres away from the site earmarked for development by applicant Stuart Milne, of Barns Farm.

Following the site visit, local councillor Ron Edwards said he believed it was clear the application should be turned down because of “clustering” in the area and the visual impact the turbines would have on the village.

He explained, “I think we do have a problem with this size of wind turbine – it’s not big enough to be covered by our policy on wind farms but at the same time it’s not so small to be unobtrusive.

“There are lots of places where it is not undesirable – the Pitkinnie one is lower and is beneath the skyline – but I really feel that we have to propose refusal of this application because of the clustering of these significant objects on the skyline.

“From where we stood at the Kirk it was pretty evident these would not blend with the landscape.”

His views were endorsed by fellow local Councillor George Kay, while Councillor Neil Crooks said he would back the opinions of the councillors serving the ward.

Five letters of objection had been received by Fife Council in relation to the proposals.

Councillor Susan Leslie, who like Mr Edwards and Mr Kay serves the Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy ward, agreed with her colleagues in that there was “enough cause” to turn the application down but asked for more guidance from planners to help future decisions relating to wind turbines.

“It will have a huge impact but I’m very torn because I can see the day that every single house will have its own turbine,” she concluded.

“I personally don’t find wind turbines offensive, in fact I think there’s a certain grace and elegance about them as opposed to electricity pylons and telegraph poles.”