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Decision casts doubt over turbine project  

Credit:  Banffshire Journal | 28/08/2014 | www.banffshire-journal.co.uk ~~

A controversial wind turbine project earmarked for the outskirts of Banff is in jeopardy after councillors rejected the bulk of a landowner’s plans.

Local farmer James Gammie applied to build three of the 80m high structures on neighbouring plots of land at Gawnsmoss, Gledsgreen and Cairnhill.

The development polarised the local community with Aberdeenshire Council receiving 500 representations of support and 225 objections.

At last week’s Banff and Buchan area committee meeting, local members threw out two of the proposals and decided to defer sentence on the Cairnhill application so they could carry out a site visit.

Planning officers recommended that all three turbines be refused.

Mr Gammie told the meeting: “The people who know the area best are those who are in a three-mile radius, and in particular those in a one-mile radius and we have their overwhelming support.

“This community project will also contribute considerably to climate change objectives.”

The objections from residents argued that the area was already saturated with the units and concerns were also raised about noise pollution, shadow flicker, house prices and tourism.

Objector Edna Gardiner spoke at the meeting and said: “Two of the turbines will face the front of my property less than 600 yards away.

“With carbuncles like these on the horizon, what tourist would visit the area?”

Another resident Jane Farquharson said: “The 500 letters of support put to the council are pro forma letters Mr Gammie asked people to put their names to.

“Public consultation should be carried out by a third party – no pressure should be put on people.”

A legal officer at the local authority told councillors that pro forma letters are acceptable but elected representatives must weigh-up their significance.

Councillor Brian Topping called for the site visit at Cairnhill, with councillors voting five to four in favour of his motion.

It will take place next Tuesday (September 2).

Source:  Banffshire Journal | 28/08/2014 | www.banffshire-journal.co.uk

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