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Turbines near Castle Fraser get go-ahead

Two wind turbines will be built near an Aberdeenshire castle after councillors dismissed concerns they would dominate the landscape.

The 149ft structures will be built more than a mile from Castle Fraser, near Kemnay, despite planning chiefs telling councillors the plans were “completely unsuitable” for the area.

Area planning officer Darren Ross told members of the Garioch area committee yesterday: “This is a very sensitive landscape in this part of Aberdeenshire. These turbines arewhatwewouldclass as ‘ medium-sized’.

“The turbines are just visible at the entrance of the castle and when they are viewed from the actual castle the turbines are visible through the gaps in the trees.”

Mr Ross told the group that while the technical issues with the applicationhadbeen addressed, such as noise and shadow flicker from the blades, the impact the turbines would have on the A-listed Castle Fraser and its designated landscape could not be overlooked.

Applicant Philip Hopley was at yesterday’s meeting at Inverurie and assured councillors every effort had been made to ensure the turbines would not spoil the views of the castle.

Mr Hopley, who made the application through Turriffbased Muirden Energy, said: “Neither Historic Scotland or the National Trust for Scotland have objected to this proposal, but do have concerns regarding the visual impact. We have made every effort to address these concerns by choosing the most appropriate site further away from the castle, and positioning the turbines off the crest of the hill.”

He also told the councillors that hehad put forward plans for two smaller turbines rather than a 262ft structure, because he had decided that the larger ones would be detrimental to the castle and its surroundings.

Councillors backed the plans, subject to conditions.