Councillors voted to knock back an attempt to erect three large wind turbines at a Highland beauty spot yesterday despite the development being recommended for approval.
Bright Spark Energy had originally applied for five turbines at Eathie, on the Black Isle , but two of the 242 ft devices have been removed f rom its plans following discussions with officials.
The proposals were met with significant public opposition and fears of an adverse affect on tourism.
Highland Council planner Erica McArthur told the north planning committee yesterday that the development would be visible from various points on the Black Isle.
She said: “We feel it does come down to a local visual impact and our assessment concluded that the visual impact is not so significant as to merit refusal.”
The committee chairwoman, Black Isle councillor Isobel McCallum, said: “I believe that these turbines are not in the right place.
“It is at a local level that these turbines will have a dramatic effect.
“It will have that in-yourface status that, having been to Aberdeenshire recently, I hoped I would not see in the Highlands.”
Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh councillor Audrey Sinclair said: “My concern is that because of the geography of the Black Isle these will be visible from such a large area. Some of them will be seen from the other side of the Cromarty Firth.”
Councillor Bill Fernie, from Wick, said the turbines would be visible but that was not necessarily a reason to refuse t he development.
Sutherland councillor George Farlow said: “I looked at this purely on a planning basis and cannot see any reason why we should not go ahead with this recommendation.”
Mrs McCallum’s motion to refuse the application on the basis of detrimental visual impact was voted through by seven votes to five.
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