A major Perth employer has said it is “disappointed” council staff have blocked its plan to use a 77-metre high wind turbine to part-power its headquarters.
Bosses at insurance giants Aviva say they are now considering their “next steps” after an application filed last September was refused by planning officers.
If it had been approved, the structure – which would have been the height of more than 17 double decker buses – would have dominated the Perth skyline.
The company, which currently employs around 1200 people at Pitheavlis, said in supporting documents the steel and fibreglass structure could have provided enough electricity to power over half the site cutting its energy bills and carbon emissions.
But Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) advised PKC the creation would have “significant landscape and visual effects” while Historic Environment Scotland (HES) outright objected to it saying it would have much the same effect on the setting of Aviva’s category A-listed building.
Now PKC case officer Persephone Beer has concluded the application ought to be refused saying: “Having reviewed the supporting landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA) I have concerns that the assessment underplays the significance of the turbine in the landscape and its impact on the visual amenity of the surrounding area.
“As noted by SNH the submitted visualisations indicate that when seen in open, unrestricted views the proposed turbine would likely be an uncharacteristic and prominent feature resulting in a major change to views in and across the Perth area.
“It would likely be the most visible tall structure in the city area. It would be a new, large-scale element in important views towards and across the city and moving blades would exacerbate this effect. As such it would be a distinctive feature that would draw the viewer’s eye and it would likely become a major orientating feature in the area.
“Contrary to the findings and conclusions of the applicant’s LVIA it is considered that the turbine would, in fact, have a significant landscape and visual impact.”
Further down her delegated report of handling Ms Beer continues: “The turbine is likely to have a significant impact on the setting of the Aviva building, due to the turbine’s scale and very close proximity to this A-listed building.
“HES notes that the submitted visualisations … also very clearly demonstrate this impact from close-range views within the Aviva site and from the high ground to the north-west and conclude that there will be an unacceptable visual change to views that contribute to the cultural significance of the building.
“Due to the scale and proximity of the proposed turbine to this important heritage asset, the proposal would adversely affect the Aviva building and the way it is experienced in its landscaped surroundings, disrupting the overall composition and redefining its focus.”
Responding to the refusal an Aviva spokesperson commented this week: “Aviva takes climate change very seriously and we want to do all we can to try to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
“The wind turbine would have generated over 50 per cent of our annual electricity use, going a long way to make our Perth site fully powered by locally generated renewable energy.
“We are therefore disappointed by this decision and are currently considering our next steps.”
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