The factor to the Mount Stuart Trust has hit out at Historic Scotland’s silence over the proposed Ascog wind farm.
In a letter to Robin Campbell, the government body’s senior heritage management officer, Andrew Nicol expresses his disquiet at Historic Scotland’s decision not to object to the proposal for three turbines at Ascog Farm, each 74 metres in height from ground to blade tip.
In Historic Scotland’s official response to the application, dated December 21, Mr Campbell wrote that “we agree with the findings of the ES [the applicant’s Environmental statement] that the turbines would not be visible from much of the [Mount Stuart] estate, including the core around the Category A-listed mansion.
“Based on this, we consider that the potential impact on the Mount Stuart Inventory designed landscape and Mount Stuart House would not be significant.” The HS response also stated that while the turbines would have an impact on the A-listed Balmory House in Ascog, “we consider that the significance of the impact is not of such an order that it warrants an objection from Historic Scotland”.
In a letter dated January 17, Mr Nicol invites Mr Campbell to visit both the application site and the surrounding area, including Mount Stuart, in the hope of reconsidering his response.
“I note your response,” Mr Nicol says in his letter, “and must say I am surprised and disappointed that Historic Scotland is not supporting or even acknowledging the large number of objections to the proposal (almost 600 at the last count).
“Such a development would be detrimental to the unspoilt landscape of Bute and would not sit well with the island’s many sites of archaeological and historic interest.
“We do not consider the development as being of benefit to Bute as a whole and have concerns that it will have a detrimental impact on tourism, which is mainstay [sic] of the island’s economy.
“I note that Historic Scotland considers that the size and siting of the proposed turbines does not warrant an objection in relation to the impact on specific properties, including scheduled monuments and their setting, category A listed buildings and their setting and gardens and designed landscapes.
“It is my opinion that such a development would have an adverse effect on those buildings which Historic Scotland have a statutory remit for both on but also off the island – please be aware of the prominence that these turbines will have along the Firth of Clyde.”
On Mr Campbell’s view that the lack of visibility of the turbines from Mount Stuart would make the potential impact on the estate insignificant, Mr Nicol says: “I would argue that the turbines will be visible from much of the estate – you may not be aware of the storm damage which has felled many large mature trees in the policies over the past two years.”
The number of public comments submitted on the application had reached 598 as this article was published, with the vast majority of those published so far being against the proposal.
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