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Joy as Lendalfoot windfarm is rejected

Emotional campaigners are celebrating after South Ayrshire Council’s planning committee rejected plans for 14 turbines.

In a highly-charged meeting on Wednesday morning, councillors unanimously agreed that the location at Straid Farm near Lendalfoot was not an appropriate site for developers Ecotricity to situate turbines which would have stood almost 100m tall.

The application had been lodged in 2012 and had received over 700 objections from locals and people across Scotland with links and memories to Lendalfoot and the area.

Alan Pollock, RPS planning director representing the developers, said: “The overall effect of these turbines would be highly localised.

“We have taken steps to reduce the impact by reducing the number of turbines from 16 to 14 to try and allay the concerns of people like Scottish Natural Heritage. There would be minimal impact with noise and shadow flicker and that’s reflected in the responses.”

Objectors to the plans were present at the meeting to outline their reasons to councillors.

Lendalfoot residents Patrick Andrew and Robert Wilson were representing the Carlton Bay Association and showed panel members a photo montage which they believed showed a true representation of the impact of turbines on that site.

Robert, a professional photographer for over 40 years, claimed that several of Ecotricity’s pictures showing the impact of the turbines didn’t give a real reflection.

Robert said: “The impact from the A77 at the top of Bennane Hill shows they would be in full view which is in contrast to Ecotricity’s pictures taken from a layby which obscure the full visual impact.

“At the front of my house at Carlton Crescent, I would basically be looking straight onto a wind farm, and at Carlton Crescent there is also a very popular play area.

“The leisure area in Lendalfoot would also be impacted by the scale of these turbines.”

Dr Mhairi McKenna, said: “I’m requesting that South Ayrshire Council has a referendum on any more windfarms in this area.

“This would have a significant impact for those travelling on the A77 and the turbines would also impact on an area of special scientific interest.”

An emotional Margaret Fleming, representing Colmonell and Lendalfoot Community Council, said: “I cannot believe anyone would want to put turbines in this area.

“The people we surveyed in January this year in our area show that they are dead against these proposals.”

As she fought back tears, Margaret said: “These proposals would affect houses that are inside the 2km exclusion zone, visitors to Lendalfoot wouldn’t want this at all.”

Duncan Walker, chairman of the Carlton Bay Association said: “I had a holiday home in Lendalfoot before I was fortunate enough to set up home here.

“The plans put forward by Ecotricity are misleading and do not reflect the true picture of what is going on here.

“The risk of flooding from the Lendal Water would also be increased due to the access needed for these turbines.”

Councillor Alec Oattes was in attendance and backed the residents: “I am in total agreement with the objectors and I think when you look at the cumulative impact of windfarms in South Carrick this would not be appropriate.

“South Carrick has one of the highest rates of deprivation and tourism is vital to the area in order to provide economic stability.”

Councillor Ann Galbraith said: “I have seen many windfarm proposals and I think this is the worst yet, it is totally ludicrous to have a windfarm there. It would spoil a beautiful area and I have no issue with refusing this.”

Chair of the panel, Councillor Peter Convery summed up: “I find it impossible to see how a wind farm could be suitable for this location. It would be totally detrimental to the landscape of the area.”

An Ecotricity spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that South Ayrshire Council have voted against our plans for a wind farm at Straid Farm near Lendalfoot. We believe that the site in an appropriate location to host 14 wind turbines, but we will now assess the Regulatory Panel’s decision before deciding whether or not to appeal.