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Planners urge council to reject windfarm vision

Planners say permission should be refused for a windfarm proposed on land owned by the Scottish Conservatives’ environment spokesman.

Highlands and Islands MSP Sir Jamie McGrigor, stands to earn more than £8million if the 15 turbines go up.

Ardchonnel windfarm, by the shores of Loch Awe, is being proposed by RWE Innogy on Mr McGrigor’s 3,500 acre estate in Argyll.

A hillside above Loch Awe, is earmarked for the turbines, each 364ft high.

The planning application, to be considered by Argyll and Bute Council on Wednesday, has attracted 92 objections and 52 expressions of support.

Planners recommend permission be refused, but, in light of the amount of comment, suggest a public hearing takes place before any decision is taken by councillors.

Objectors claim the windfarm would wreck the tourist trade, with Avich and Kilchrenan Community Council commenting that the windfarm would be sited “in very sensitive countryside”.

“Supporters say the windfarm would help Scotland reach its renewable energy targets.

Both Glenorchy and Innishail Community Council and Inveraray have registered their support.

But in the report before councillors on Wednesday, Richard Kerr, senior planner, writes: “This proposal is inconsistent with the provisions of the development plan due to its adverse landscape, visual, and cumulative impact on the landscape setting of Loch Awe.

“All other material considerations have been taken into account, including the contribution which the development would make to renewable energ y production and the expressions of support received from third parties, but these are not of such weight as to overcome the identified adverse impacts, which cannot be overcome by the imposition of planning conditions or by way of legal agreement.”

Mr McGrigor said it would be inappropriate for him to comment at this time.

A spokesman for RWE Innogy said: “Ardchonnel has the potential to bring millions of pounds of investment to communities around Loch Awe.

“It has the support of Glenorchy and Innishail Community Council, which is the area where the windfarm will be situated, and of Inveraray Community Council, which is nearby.

“The proposal will bring more than £20million to Argyll and Bute Council over its life span through business rates.”