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Turbines approved

Attempts to defer the decision on a wind turbine application so it could be heard along with two other applications for the same site proved futile this week as councillors on the Kincardine and Mearns area committee approved an application for three 100 meters to blade tip wind turbines at land east of the Shiels, Laurencekirk.

In discussions about the application, which received 11 representations, two objectors addressed the committee both representing community groups from the turbine area.

Marjorie Stewart, secretary of Mearns Community Council, asked the council to rethink it’s “piecemeal approach” on windturbines. She expressed concerns over the cumulative impact on the area. She said: “Surely there is a limit to the number of turbines that a community should be expected to absorb.” Provost Bill Howatson shared Mrs Stewart’s concerns about the application saying that it made him “nervous.” He then proposed that the decision should be deferred to be heard with the other two applications for the site. Councillor Wendy Agnew supported this notion.

The report by the planning services suggested it would have been beneficial to hear the three applications on the same day however planning policy stipulates plans should not be “unreasonably delayed” for other schemes.

Councillors Ian Mollison and Mike Sullivan argued that it was unfair to penalise the applicant by making them wait until the other two applications, which were lodged by different companies, were ready. Councillor Sullivan then proposed an amendment that the committee go with the recommendation and approve the plans. Councillor Alistair Bews seconded this and the amendment was passed by a vote of seven to four.

During the discussion Councillor George Carr hit out at plannng laws. He said he felt “totally unprepared and unable” to look at the application as the planning policies on wind turbines are not “robust enough.”

Speaking after the meeting, Area Chair Paul Melling said he was “Dissappointed” that the decision had not been deferred. He said: “It was a controversial and the community were asking us to consider all of the applications together when they come along. Even the paper that the planners felt that was the way we should be doing it.” Councillors also approved an application for an 81m turbine at Brigton.