A Sutherland crofting community is entering the new year amid friction over a planned wind turbine which it is feared will be a blot on the landscape and a turn-off for visitors.
Newly-established firm Bonar Bridge Ltd wants to install a single 500kw wind turbine, capable of powering 250 homes, on a croft apportionment at Airdens, Bonar Bridge.
The land is understood to belong to social worker- cum-crofter Deirdre Selkirk of The Haining, 11 Airdens.
Measuring 76m from base to blade tip, the turbine would sit just under 3km north east of Bonar Bridge, on 0.24 hectares of rough grazing on the Airdens Hill, above Migdale.
It will be within 500 metres of two houses and a kilometre of another eight houses as well as within a kilometre of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), designated for its hen harrier population
An application for planning permission was recently lodged by Bonar Bridge Ltd with Highland Council. The firm also wants to build a control station and access track.
According to Companies House, Bonar Bridge Ltd was incorporated at the start of November. The firm’s registered address is that of Inverness chartered accountants Ritsons, 27 Huntly Street.
Only one current director, Hugh McNally, is named. Another director, Francis Jones, had his appointment terminated on 5th December.
Mr Jones, of MJ Designworks, Drumnadrochit, is named on the council’s website as agent for Bonar Bridge Ltd.
The application has already attracted a number of comments on the authority’s eplanning site, mainly relating to likely noise and visual impact, along with shadow flicker (the flickering effect caused when rotating wind turbine blades periodically cast shadows through constrained openings such as the windows of neighbouring properties).
There is also concern that it will impact on a local red kite population.
Objectors are now calling for an extension to the 10th January deadline for representations, to allow time for the application to be discussed by Creich Community Council at its January 21st meeting.
Local resident Johan Murray, who owns a holiday home at Airdens, believes the turbine will put off tourists. She claimed it would also be visible from several of the tees, fairways and greens of the nearby Bonar Bridge/Ardgay golf course.
She said: “It will be a complete eyesore and blot on the horizon of the surrounding area and well beyond. People comment on the lovely views from the golf course but this will have a detrimental effect.”
Retired police officer Norman MacDonald and his wife Ruby are also among the objectors.
Mr MacDonald states on the eplanning site: “The size of the single turbine means that it completely dominates the landscape.
“The introduction of such a monstrosity in a rural crofting community will have a detrimental effect on several fronts, particularly health, finance and tourism.
“In a small rural community used to ‘pulling together’ and sharing chores, this one turbine within 500 metres of at least 80 per cent of the village will cause considerable disharmony.”
Fellow objector Evelyn Walker Smith, who also runs a holiday home, said: “This turbine will blight the whole area and will directly affect our business.”
No-one from Bonar Bridge Ltd was available for comment.
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