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New objections to windfarm

Another major golf investor has waded into the row over a windfarm near St Andrews, branding the proposals “ill-conceived, selfish and disastrous for the local economy”.

Directors of the planned £20m golf and leisure complex at Feddinch are the latest to question St Andrews University’s rationale for siting six 100m turbines at Kenly, just days after the Old Course Hotel said the windfarm could wreck the town’s setting and threaten jobs in tourism, golf and leisure.

Ewan Mckay, on behalf of the Feddinch developers, has written to Fife Council’s planning department to express their opposition to the Kenly proposals and calling to block the plans.

Mr Mckay said many large institutional buildings such as hospitals source heat and light “from biomass” and these systems would be “a much better solution”.

He said: “If the university are minded to consider the opinion of those living in and around St Andrews, then they should spend time selecting a site in an area better suited, ie one with more wind and in a much less populated area.

“The clubhouse plans at Feddinch incorporate some 41 luxurious suites, many of which will have a full view of the Kenly wind turbines and while this is of deep concern, as it may reduce member numbers, we are convinced that people throughout the world will stare in disbelief when the Open Championship returns to St Andrews in 2015 and the camera takes into picture the wind turbines.

“That may be a source of immense and regrettable embarrassment for a long, long time.”

Mr Mckay has also criticised the university’s proposed windfarm as one “which will only bring benefit to the university”, while it may “jeopardise” the investment at Hamilton Hall, which has been renamed the Hamilton Grand as part of plans to turn the former halls of residence into luxury private apartments.

Concerns about the impact of industrial wind power developments near tourist and golf destinations in Scotland have multiplied since Donald Trump began his campaign against an offshore wind farm by his £750m luxury golf course at Menie in Aberdeenshire.

In recent weeks, the Scottish Golf Union – which represents nearly 600 clubs and 250,000 golfers – the Aberdeen City and Shire Hotel Association and a number of golf tour operators have echoed concern that windfarms risk undermining golf tourism.

Mr Mckay predicts the Kenly development will dissuade many from visiting St Andrews and believes this will have a detrimental effect not only on tourism in general but also on the local economy.

He said: “The university may well benefit from reduced electricity prices, but the businesses in and around St Andrews may well ultimately pay the price.”

Local campaigners against turbines welcomed the Feddinch objection, with Graham Lang, of the East Fife Turbine Awareness Group, saying he fears Fife is facing a torrent of windfarm applications.

He said: “Fife Council’s planning department is currently looking at hundreds of proposals.

“St Andrews is at risk of being ringed by turbines as more and more developers jump on the subsidy bandwagon.”