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Residents’ prayers answered as turbine plan near Angus church gets thumbs down

Residents of a rural Angus community have had their prayers answered over a controversial wind power development.

Locogen had applied to put up a 77-metre turbine near Carmyllie’s 17th Century church, which was decided on by Angus councillors.

Local authority planning officers had recommended the development standards committee approve the proposal but a vote found in the favour of objectors, who had turned up in their numbers to hear the 
decision.

The amendment was carried by five votes to four, with one abstention.

The congregation was worried the development would affect the quality of light through their stained glass, considered some of the finest in Scotland.

A number of parishioners felt “shadow flicker” from the turbine’s spinning blades would disturb their Sunday services as well as disrupt the setting of the war memorial and manse.

The church contains stained glass windows by Scotland’s leading artist in that medium during the 19th Century, Stephen Adam.

A number of residents spoke to the committee in objection, and applicant Louise Gray, of Balcathie Farm, appeared with an agent from the developer.

Resident James Bigham said the proposed turbine was “totally out of place” for the landscape.

“The war memorial is an award-winning one and its site was chosen very carefully,” he said.

James Lindsay, who lives at the former manse, Carmyllie House, said: “My contention is that the turbine would be inappropriate in this setting.”

The Rev Stewart Lamont, minister of the affiliated Arbirlot Church, said building turbines in what is an otherwise tightly controlled conservation area would be “a nonsense”.

He added: “When building a factory with a chimney stack of 77 metres in a beautiful area of countryside, next to a beautiful listed building, there would normally be a lot of opposition – and that’s what this is.”

Ian McLean, of Locogen, said the planning conditions would alleviate many of the objections.

He added: “Concerns were raised about the potential for shadow flicker on the church, which is just over 1.2km away. The council were of the view that potential for shadow flicker (was not great).”

Committee convener Rob Murray moved approval, seconded by Councillor Bill Duff.

Mr Duff said objections were “minimal”, adding: “We have to move with the times.

“With the greatest of respect, I don’t think you can allow progress to be held back by theoretical aesthetic considerations.”

Councillor Bill Bowles proposed an amendment to the report, refusing approval based on council policies ER5 and ER15, dealing with conservation of landscape character and the setting of listed buildings.

“In absolutely no way does this fit in the landscape around Carmyllie,” he said.

He was seconded by Councillor David Fairweather, who said Mr Duff’s comments were in “bad taste”.

“I’m not against turbines if they are in the right place, and this is certainly not,” he said.