Business owners have raised fears of “irretrievable damage” if the go-ahead is given for a major windfarm in the Angus glens.
Hundreds of responses have already been received after the planning application was submitted to Angus Council and Perth and Kinross Council.
The proposed Saddle Hill windfarm – almost three miles north-west of Kilry – would comprise up to 14 turbines generating two megawatts each at a height of 377ft.
Jill Hobhouse, who runs a small self-catering holiday business at Ardormie Farm Cottage, told The Courier: “As a small rural community we have been placed under a huge pressure in the fight against the industrialisation of our landscape.”
“Each new development takes an enormous amount of time and effort for local people to raise awareness and put up a fight against the ever more savvy and well-resourced wind turbine developers.
“As the owner of a small, local, tourism business I am extremely conscious of the irretrievable damage that would result from the ruination of previously unspoilt landscape, the very thing that visitors come to enjoy.
“I have surveyed my holiday cottage guests and 98% of respondents who have enjoyed a peaceful holiday are against the development of huge, noisy, intrusive turbines.
“The people who stay in my cottage spend their money in the shops in Alyth, the tourist attractions of Perthshire and Angus, the local restaurants, cafes and pubs.
“Just because you don’t see the turbines doesn’t mean that they will not have a negative effect on your business.”
Jim Muir, who manages Highland Adventure Activities in Glenisla with wife Susan, said their business would be badly damaged.
He said: “This proposed development will have an obvious visual impact from our residence and garden and a detrimental effect on our tourist business.”
Farmer Jamie Gammell, who has lived and worked in the glen for 50 years, said: “There is no doubt that for those who are actively involved in trying to encourage people to object at this time of year and at short notice over the holiday period is extremely stressful for all concerned.
“This development appears to be contrary to current planning policies of both Angus and Perth councils and the area is of outstanding natural beauty promoted heavily by both councils for tourism, and the income that is generated by visitor footfall in these economically fragile areas is vital to the local economy.
“Agricultural policies have also encouraged diversification and local families are now very heavily reliant on the income they receive from the provision of services to these visitors to the glens.
“Anything that threatens that vital income will make it very difficult for anything to take its place as there are few local and part-time jobs that are not reliant on this trade.”
Mr Gammell said there is a major worry those keen on eco-tourism will go elsewhere for “wild walking, breathtaking views and protected species of wildlife”.
Saddle Hill project manager Rory Carmichael said: “As well as providing enough electricity to meet the equivalent needs of over 20,000 households, the proposal could also create positive opportunities for local businesses, especially during the construction phase.
“Additionally, local contractors will be invited to tender to work on the site, should the project receive consent.
“Indirect benefits from the expenditure of those working on the windfarm will also have a positive impact on local hotels, B&Bs, catering and restaurants.”
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