Councillors will face criticism next week about a planned Mearns windfarm development.
Scottish Government reporter Trevor Croft accused them of “unreasonable behaviour” after they rejected proposals for 12 turbines at Meikle Carewe, near Stonehaven.
Last month, Mr Croft backed an appeal by Glasgow-based RES Developments to build the 230ft (70m) structures on the hilltop site.
His report will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee in Stonehaven.
The proposal split the committee, which rejected the plan by six votes to five in April last year – despite officials having recommended approval.
The company lodged an appeal in August and Mr Croft’s decision was announced at the end of last month.
His criticism of the committee’s decision is contained in a response to a claim for expenses by the developer, which he also backed.
Mr Croft said: “In this case the council’s area committee was presented with a thorough assessment of the proposals by its planning officers. This concluded that the proposed development met the relevant development-plan policies for wind energy, and that potential adverse impacts were not considered to be unduly significant.
“It recommended that it should be granted full planning permission, subject to conditions.”
He added: “The committee did not accept this reco mmendation, and decided to refuse planning permission.
“The committee is entirely within its rights to do this, but should only do so where its reasons for refusal are in accordance with the development plan, unless other material considerations indicate otherwise.”
Mr Croft said there were no other material considerations that justified the refusal of planning permission, and added: “To refuse the application in these circumstances was unreasonable.
“This unreasonable behaviour resulted in the appellant having unnecessary expense, as it was unnecessary for the matter to come before Scottish ministers.”
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