Planning: Opponents say 377ft turbines will ‘industrialise’ unspoilt scenic landscape.
Donside Community Council will hose the first of two public consultation sessions today over a controversial windfarm scheme.
Opponents claim the 377ft masts proposed for Tibberchindy, near Alford, would be visible from as far away as Corgarff and Kemnay and would “industrialise” the scenic area.
The community council will host a drop-in session for local residents today from 1pm-3pm in the village’s community lounge, and another tomorrow between 6pm-8pm in Alford Academy.
Chairwoman Yvonne Buckingham said: “The council is a statutory consultee and we want to hear the comments of local people before submitting the group’s view on the scheme to Aberdeenshire Council Planners.
“The two sessions, during the day and evening, should give as many people as possible the opportunity to come along.”
Infinis Energy originally planned to put up nine turbines near the derelict farmhouse on the site, but said that the scheme had been scaled down and its layout altered to make it less prominent.
A planning application has been lodged by the Edinburgh-based firm, which claims the project would generate enough electricity to power between 8,000-8,500 homes.
Local residents have organised a No To Tibberchindy Windfarm campaign group and argue that the development on Coiliochbhar Hill would dominate the scenic landscape.
Protestors have also set up a website and created a graphic to highlight the scale of the proposed turbines when set against Craigievar Castle, which is around a third of the height of the planned turbine structures, but several miles from the site.
Campaigners also argue the development will have an adverse impact on the tourist trail route to Upper Donside.
Infinis has pointed out that a series of public consultations have taken place in the area. The company said public comments had already been taken into account in drawing up the application for full planning permission, and this is due to be considered by councillors at a later date.
Scheme: Developer accused of ‘underhand’ tactics
Windfarm opponents in an expanding north-east community have accused a turbine developer of dirty tricks.
The Sauchen Group Against Wind Turbines has vowed to fight renewed proposals for a 260ft structure at Littletown Farm near the village.
An initial scheme was vetoed by Aberdeenshire councillors last month after it attracted more than 50 letters of objection. Critics say that the company behind it, Midlothian based Ruby Energy, acted in an “underhand” way by submitting a second application a day before the deadline for comments on the original plan.
The move means opponents must now object again, said group member Hugh Falconer.
Mr Falconer, of Margaret Allan Grove, Sauchen, said: “We feel that the developers’ tactics are quite underhand, for example by resubmitting a new proposal for the same development a day before objections for the original one expired.
“It means all those who already objected now have to go through the whole process again.
“We have now set up a website to alert people to the fact that objections have to be put in again by November 29, and a dozen objections have already gone in.
“It is exactly the same site, and people are really cheesed off with the situation. A structure of that size would dominate views of the landscape and significantly affect the character of a scenic and unspoilt area.
“There is also the fear that if it goes ahead, then it will be the thin end of the wedge and other commercial-scale turbines will follow.”
Previous objectors raised concerns about the effect on the landscape and wildlife, as well as noise and loss of amenity.
Councillors rejected the initial Littletown Farm development, saying it went against planning policies to safeguard the countryside and the setting of local historic properties.
A spokesman for Ruby Energy yesterday denied there had been any underhand intent involved in submitting a new application for the wind turbine at Sauchen.
He argued the development would have a negligible impact on the local landscape.
“The new application was put in on the advice and guidance of a planning officer, so as to provide fuller information on the proposed development,” he said.
Turbine firm’s help to pay bills branded ‘bribe’
Residents living near the site of a contentious wind turbines project will have their electricity bills slashed, developers said last night.
Renewables firm Good Energy has announced details of one of the UK’s first local tariff schemes aimed at rewarding households which are close to its wind farms.
The Wiltshire-based company said its first discount scheme in Scotland wold be launched at King Edward, south of Banff, if its bid for a two-turbine development is approved.
Customers living within 1.2 miles of the site stand to save about £100 a year on their energy bill, the firm said. The turbines scheme, earmarked for farmland at Holm and Hollyhill has so far met a wall of opposition from locals.
Aberdeenshire Council planners have received more than 70 letters and e-mails calling for the plan to be blocked.
Opponents argue that there are already too many turbines in the area, either approved, installed or under development.
Opponents say noise and shadow flicker will impact on residents and youngsters at nearby King Edward School.
Last night, Cornhill resident Caroline Hobbs, who believes the area would be “desecrated” if the turbines went ahead, described the local tariff as a “bribe” from developers.
Good Energy says its discount scheme would also pay out a windfall bonus for every year that the 4.6MW project exceeded generation targets.
The firm’s chief executive, Juliet Davenport, said: “Wind power has a huge role to play in meeting the UK’s future energy needs and we thing that it’s only right that our local communities should be recognised for their contributions to tackling climate change and reducing the UK’s reliance on expensive imported fossil fuels.”
[via Cuminestown Against Wind Turbines]