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Decision on ‘giant windfarm’ after surprise local plan ‘contraventions’ revealed to meeting

A controversial plan for 150m high wind turbines in the countryside has been rejected by council planners – after a meeting heard it breached 10 policies in the local development plan.

Rigghill Windfarm Ltd were looking to build 10 wind turbines around one kilometre south east of Skelmorlie.

But protestors finally won their battle to have the proposal scrapped after a marathon two-hour planning meeting.

Skelmorlie Community Council chairman Helen Boyle pleaded with councillors to refuse the application.

She said: “The turbines are nearly 500ft in height and due to the low frequency noise would be a health hazard to our village and surrounding area.

“The view is beautiful, why spoil it?”

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch, who was the only elected member to formally object, said he felt turbines of this size should be kept away from populated areas.

He added: “The development would be far too close to Skelmorlie.

“Any alteration of the landscape would have a detrimental effect on the local environment, residents, wildlife and the general appearance of an extremely beautiful location.”

Fraser Campbell, of applicants Burcote Wind renewables, told the meeting: “It is our belief that Rigghill is the right development in the right place and would power 35,000 UK households.

“Renewable energy will have a significant role to play in meeting any climate change objectives.

“It is the most cost effective renewable energy technology and green electricity generation.”

Melvin Grosvenor, of the UK Independent Noise Working Group, who also addressed the meeting, raised concerns about the proposal.

He added: “The World Health Organisation has published guidance that stated further research is urgently needed into harm which is caused by infrasound from turbines.

“These are fundamentally offshore wind turbines which are certainly not suited to the close proximity to local residents proposed by the applicants.”

Committee chairman Tom Marshall said: “Given that we did all support the local development plan as a full council, I would think that we are duty bound to consider any contraventions to that in this application.”

A planning spokesperson added: “The operation of the development would not enhance, and potentially harm, tourism facilities.

“The proposal does not accord with the objectives of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park as an attractive visitor destination.”

Burcote argued that Clyde Muirshiel wouldn’t be affected from a tourism perspective but there were also objections from Skelmorlie and other community councils.

Although the decision was taken to refuse the application, Burcote have a right of appeal to the Scottish Government.