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Locals hail refusal of Govals Farm windfarm plan

Angus residents turned out in force to welcome planning refusal for a six-turbine windfarm.

Refusal of the 4.8MW proposal for land at Govals Farm, near Forfar and the A90, was backed by councillors on Tuesday in front of a full house on the public benches.

Farmer David Cooper and consultants Green Cat Renewables planned a development north-west of the Kincaldrum farm, between 1km and 2.7km west of the dual carriageway.

However, a meeting of the development standards committee took an hour to side with council officers against the plans after hearing several representations.

Planning officer Jamie Scott said the reasons for refusal related to landscape, cumulative impact and residential amenity.

He gave a presentation concentrating on homes most impacted in this way – Dunrobin Cottage, Govals Cottage, East Cotton of Kincaldrum, Washingdales Farm, and Nether Finlarg.

The proposals would have “unacceptable” visual impact on those properties, Mr Scott added.

Comparisons were made with a previously refused application at Finavon Hill.

Mr Scott said there are additional concerns that the turbines could be seen in their entirety from Arniefoul and that there would be cumulative impact on Milton of Ogilvy when taken with the existing Ark Hill windfarm near Glamis.

From the Carrot Hill beauty spot, he added, there would be cumulative impact when considering the developments Drumderg (in Perthshire), Carrach and Dodd Hill, which are either approved or in the appeals system.

He said the proposal finds favour with some areas of the local development plan, in terms of delivering renewable energy, but is contrary to others.

Four residents of the area near the proposed turbines spoke in favour of refusal.

Ray Gibson spoke of the potential “blight” of cumulative impact on a landscape that is “not ideal” for wind development.

“I’m a local resident who will be able to view the turbines from my living room window and three others,” said Mr Gibson, who said he lived 3km away.

“I would not have spoken out if it was a single turbine to safeguard the future of a working farm, but it isn’t.”

Andrew Vivers said the concept of the windfarm is “disingenuous spin” on a word with agricultural associations, and argued against the evidence for their usefulness in power generation.

“This will totally overshadow the beauty and tranquillity of Arniefoul, where I live,” he said. “Visitors have said – with regret – that they won’t be back if the turbines are built.”

Jane Brewster, who lives near the Ark Hill turbines, said she was relieved the report recommended refusal of what she termed “man-made clutter”.

She said there was very little economic benefit to Angus during the period of Ark Hill’s construction, with the involvement of German engineers, Irish cranes, lorries from the Continent and Welsh security guards.

SNP councillor for Montrose Bill Duff asked Mrs Brewster if electricity pylons and the nearby AM Phillip garage would fit her definition of man-made clutter.

Mrs Brewster admitted so, the difference being that AM Phillip is a large employer with strong links to the farming community.

Resident of the “beautiful vale of Strathmore” for 28 years Derek Powell also spoke in favour of refusal.

Mr Cooper, accompanied by Glen Moon of Green Cat, spoke of his desire to “diversify” a livestock business on his land, from which it is “becoming increasingly hard to make a living”.

He said attempts to take neighbours to similar projects were all refused, and added: “I want to ensure as little disruption to ourselves and our neighbours as possible.”

Mr Murray moved the report, seconded by Councillor Jeanette Gaul, and Mr Duff’s amendment to the report, moving planning acceptance, found no seconder.