A decision on controversial plans for a windfarm on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park was deferred again yesterday.
Swedish energy firm Vattenfall wants to erect 18 turbines at Clashindarroch Forest, four miles from the park boundary, between Huntly and Rhynie.
In May members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Marr area committee deferred their decision for more information.
The plans came back before councillors yesterday, but they put off their decision again – this time to discuss the possibility of removing three of the 360ft masts from the ridge of a hill.
The committee heard from the agent for the scheme, plus supporters and objectors of the project.
Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford councillor Alastair Ross said it was a “very difficult application”.
Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Rosemary Bruce – who tabled a motion backing the plans – said many issues raised by the objectors had been dealt with. “Yes, the turbines will be visible from some locations – that’s the nature of wind turbines – but I think the applicants have gone a long way to mitigate the effects.”
But others, including Banchory and Mid-Deeside councillor Karen Clark, said the “loss of visual amenity” would be too great. She proposed an amendment refusing planning permission.
Mr Ross proposed a second amendment backing the plans, but removing three turbines on the ridge of Cloiche Dubh.
He was told that size of an alteration would require a further planning application and changed the amendment to a deferral for more information about the removal of the turbines.
That was carried by five votes to three.
Speaking after the meeting Vicky Spencer, of campaign group Friends of Clash, said they had waited eight years, so “another week or so” would not make a difference.
Rhona Newman, who lives about half a mile from the proposed site, at Boganclogh Lodge, said: “I’m pleased with the decision, but I would be more pleased if they had said no.
“The report I had from an acoustic expert suggested the removal of those turbines because they were on the ridge.”
Supporter Phyllis Goodall, of Huntly, said she still had hope and the decision was “more positive than a complete turn down”.
Vattenfall senior development manager David Rodger said he was pleased that the council had given the firm the opportunity to address the issues raised by the committee and it looked forward to working with the local authority.
He added that the project was still “very much alive”.
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