Scotland’s oldest university is at odds with a prestigious hotel over plans for a new wind farm which it is feared will damage a historic town and affect tourism.
St Andrews University has proposed six turbines to be built around five miles away from the town, which attracts thousands of visitors every year.
However, the five-star Old Course Hotel, which borders the championship golf course, has objected saying it would have a “detrimental visual impact” , particularly on the Duke’s golf course.
The fresh objection, made on behalf of the Old Course Hotel by consultants Colliers International, warns the project would also affect the “wider visual experience of visitors to St Andrews” and claims four turbines may be seen from the hotel.
They add the proposal for the farm near Kenley, between the hamlets of Boarhills and Dunino, is incompatible with the Scottish Government and Fife Council’s objectives for continued growth in tourism.
“This is because the impression that may be taken away by visitors to the town and its facilities will not be what was expected or anticipated by them, in terms of their currently being able to enjoy views of an unspoilt landscape which provides the setting to the historical town and its attractions such as the golf courses,” they said.
“By its very nature, the Old Course Hotel and resort exists and continues to grow as a ‘brand’ of worldwide appeal. It is synonymous with St Andrews as the ‘home of golf’ and its economic and cultural heritage. The very aspects that offer this worldwide appeal are history, setting, exclusivity and quality.
“Few places in Scotland match these characteristics.
“With the regularity of televised golf events being broadcast worldwide, and the real economic benefits these and other golf events bring to the town, it is of concern to the Old Course Hotel that future broadcasts may portray the setting of the town in a less favourable image and could discourage repeat or new visitors back to St Andrews in future.”
The hotel and resort which said it employs 300 people, acknowledged there was a need to increase sources of energy supply from renewable options but said that should only be from locations which are suitable.
“In permitting the proposals, there is a real risk of causing a detrimental impact on the economic growth of tourism and long-term detrimental effects on the surrounding landscape, both of which are coveted across the world,” said Colliers in the objection lodged with the council.
Adams Consulting Group, acting for the university, defended the proposals, following initial objections raised by Scottish Natural Heritage that the farm would detract from the historic significance of the “nationally important medieval skyline of St Andrews”.
Adams Consulting Group said there are “no designations” that show the St Andrews skyline was of national importance.
They added: “Consequently this statement creates a false impression and exaggerates the potential impact of the proposal on St Andrews.”
They said that “from within St Andrews itself and its immediate vicinity, there would be “no visibility” of the planned wind farm.
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