Objectors protest against plans for an eight turbine windfarm development at Mochrum Fell in the Glenkens
Councillors deferred a decision on Coriolis Energy and Falck Renewable’s plans for the site between Parton and Corsock after it attracted nearly 600 objections.
Anti-windfarm campaigners protested outside the council headquarters on Wednesday ahead of a key planning meeting.
The group held banners at the offices in Dumfries as they voiced their objections to plans for eight turbines at Mochrum Fell in the Glenkens.
And during the meeting they told councillors: “This is the wrong development in the wrong place.”
Councillors shied away from following a recommendation to approve the scheme, instead deferring a decision so they could visit the site which sits between Parton and Corsock.
Councillor Tom McAughtrie believed the committee “needs to take more care” when it comes to deciding on applications.
He pointed out members had been shown mocked-up photographs of the turbines that had been taken on a winter’s day when the view would be different in the summer.
As an example, he said the committee had not considered the fact “you can now stand at Southerness and see the turbines at Moffat” when deciding on the relevant turbines.
Nearly 600 people objected to the proposals from Falck Renewables and Coriolis Energy for seven, 126m-tall turbines and one at 116m – three less than originally proposed.
A number of the objectors spoke at the meeting, highlighting the impact the turbines would have on the environment, landscape, local economy and quality of life.
Elaine Procter lives at Mochrum and described it as “a haven that should be prized above rubies”. She said news of the proposed development had been a “bombshell” and felt the windfarm “contributes little and destroys so much”.
Another objector, Elizabeth Hall, said: “During 40 years in the travel business I have had some pretty odd requests but I have never been asked to book a holiday to or near a windfarm.”
Twenty four letters of support were submitted, one of which was from landowner Oscar Yerburgh of Barwhillanty Estate. He believed the windfarm would bring benefits to the region, including around £3 million in community benefits.
He said: “We feel our region, as do so many people in Dumfries and Galloway, has huge tourism potential.”
He explained the windfarm would help provide the capital to take advantage of this.
The committee also heard from Catherine Martin of Falck Renewables, who said it was “exceptional” after consultation for there to be no objections from consultees although committee chairman John Martin pointed out community councils had objected.
She highlighted the lack of objections from bodies such as the RSPB and SNH along with the council’s landscape architect. And she supported the council’s recommendation to approve and said if the project was given the green light: “We will continue to work with the community to make this project a success.”
Councillors deferred a decision for the site visit and also asked for the landscape architect to attend a future committee meeting as there were concerns about her report.
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