Planning bosses are recommending the latest wind farm application for Peeblesshire is turned down.
Stevenson Hill Wind Energy Limited want to erect eight turbines above Romanno Bridge.
Since a pre-application notice was first served by the company two years ago, the development has been scaled back from an original 25 turbines.
But the reduced application for eight of the 100-metre-high structures has still met with fervent opposition.
A total of 125 letters of objection have been tabled with Scottish Borders Council. And statutory consultees such as Historic Scotland, the Scottish Rights of Way Society and neighbouring Midlothian Council, have also raised their concerns.
Community councils in Peebles, Eddleston and Manor, Stobo and Lyne, as well as Lamancha, Newlands and Kirkurd have also posted strong objections.
Scottish Borders Council’s own archaeology officer has also opposed the bid over the site’s proximity to four scheduled monuments – Wether Law Cairn, Romanno Mains Barrows, Drum Maw Settlement and Whiteside Hill Fort.
Concerns have also been raised about the visibility of the turbines, which would run along Green Knowe, Hag Law and Wether Law hills, from as far away as Glentress.
Planning officer John Hiscox is recommending members of the local authority’s planning committee refuse the application when it comes before them.
He said: “Hag Law does not conform to the usual requirements for wind farms in terms of its landscape and visual impacts.
“The Cloich Hills are small and the turbines would dominate them in terms of scale; containment is poor due to the nature of the landscape meaning that the turbines would be highly visible from many vantage points; the linear nature of the scheme and the placement of turbines on the ridges of distinctive hills is at odds with the subtle and attractive nature of the locality; the proposed access, infrastructure and the turbines would relate poorly to the landscape, would compete with the settings of several monuments and would cause adverse visual impacts in relation to the Scottish National Trail.”
A separate application for 18 turbines on an adjacent site at Cloich Forest is currently going through the appeal process.
A public inquiry will take place towards the end of May at Peebles Hydro before a decision is made.
Mr Hiscox said: “Cumulative impacts with the Cloich scheme are highly relevant, particularly because the two schemes are a visual mismatch – the designs of each are very different.
“Furthermore, there is strong public opinion expressed within the objections that identifies with these concerns.
And he added: “It is primarily the relationship between the development and the settlements at Romanno Bridge and Halmyre, but to a certain extent the relationship with Mountain Cross and West Linton that causes a high level of concern relating to visual impact.”
“Each of these settlements would have a new and strong visual relationship with the development which would appear to march along the ridgeline and create a sense of dominance – the wind farm would not maintain the current relationship between the settlements and the hills but would make a new and powerful visual statement.”
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