Plans for a 49-metre wind turbine on a farm overlooking the Howe of Fife have been rejected by councillors, amid concerns it would ruin “one of the most stunning views in Scotland” and be sited too close to neighbouring villages.
Fife Council’s north-east Fife planning committee also rejected the proposal for land 600 metres south-east of Crossgates Cottages at Cupar Road, Pitlessie, with concern expressed about the cumulative impact of similar applications.
In his report, Fife Council service manager Alastair Hamilton recommended the application by Matthew Jack of Carriston Farm, Star of Markinch, for conditional approval.
Mr Hamilton said: “The single turbine is located in an area where there is no presumption against the erection of turbines and in landscape terms it is a site capable of accommodating the tall structure.
“Furthermore, the landscape setting is characterised by the backdrop of intensively-farmed arable farm land and the proposed turbine would not result in any significant cumulative landscape effects.”
But noting there had been 78 objections from members of the public, Cupar councillor Bryan Poole, seconded by Howe of Fife member David MacDiarmid, moved refusal. They expressed concern that six standalone turbines had already been approved in a five-kilometre radius of this site by other applicants, with a further application pending.
Mr Poole said: “I am not against turbines in principle but Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) advises there should be a separation distance of up to 2km between turbines and the edge of villages. This application is much closer than that to Pitlessie.
“I’m concerned that residents of Pitlessie could open their doors and curtains each morning and this is the first thing they would see.”
Mr MacDiarmid said: “I disagree with the assertion in the report that this would have medium landscape character sensitivity. In my humble opinion, the view from the hillside looking down is the second most stunning view in Fife, if not one of the most stunning views in Scotland.”
Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett, seconded by Howe of Fife councillor Donald Lothian, moved that the application be approved. Mr Brett said he was satisfied with the assertions of Mr Hamilton that, despite the policies, applications should be treated on their individual merits.
However, the application was rejected by 11 votes to four.
Afterwards, Stavros Michaelides, secretary of the Clatto Landscape Protection Group (CLPG), which has been campaigning against turbines in the area for many years, welcomed the decision but questioned the policies of Fife Council planning service.
He told The Courier: “Clatto Landscape Protection Group appreciates the fact that committee members have taken the right decision with regards to this application.
“Nevertheless, the case officer’s report is yet another example of Fife planning not giving enough attention to visual impact on people living close by.
“Despite assurances from the head of planning, Jim Birrell, we see no improvement in case officers’ reports. Case officers continue to accept inadequate and incomplete environmental impact assessments and continue not making their own assessments.
“Committee members are not being given comprehensive and reliable evidence and a proper assessment of this evidence presented to them in order to make informed judgments.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding