Wind turbine appeal refused

AN APPEAL against the refusal of a contentious windfarm project in Formartine has been turned down.

Richard Aspden had challenged Aberdeenshire Council’s rejection of planning permission for a three-turbine development at Bonnyton Farmhouse, Bonnyton Road, Pitmedden.

But following a site visit in June, Scottish Government reporter Gerry Farrington has now upheld the local authority’s decision.

Mr Aspden had applied for detailed permission for the Gaia turbines, which would have a total height to blade tip of 24.8 metres. The application attracted local opposition.

In his written findings, Mr Farrington said the main issues were the impact of the proposal on nearby residential properties, and the effect on the landscape, including the cumulative impact along with other wind turbine developments.

He stated that the rural area to the north of Pitmedden, surrounding the appeal, site was not designated as being of special landscape value. However, with hills, valleys, large open fields and sporadic woodland, it had an attractive appearance and an open rural character.

Mr Farrington noted that it already had a backdrop “punctuated” with turbines of various sizes and visual impacts, including structures at Hill of Fiddes, Udny and Mill of Allathan.

He concluded: “I agree with the council that the proposed turbines would have an unacceptable impact on the amenity and character of the countryside and on the residential amenity of an adjacent dwelling, contrary to the provisions of the development plan.

“Having taken into account the support for the development of renewable energy in national and local planning policies, I judge that there is no combination of material considerations of sufficient weight to offset the breaches of the development plan.

“I have examined the submissions, plans and documents with care but I find nothing of significance that alters this assessment.”