A £45 million “industrial scale” windfarm on the Angus/Perthshire border has been refused by Angus councillors.
Local campaigners have claimed that the development would have virtually destroyed the tourism market of Glen Isla while developers Wind Prospect said it would have provided enough power for a fifth of the homes in Angus and delivered a £4m community windfall over the next 25 years.
But at their meeting on Tuesday, members of the development standards committee followed officials’ recommendations for refusal after hearing the 14 115-metre high turbines, eight of which would have fallen within Angus Council’s boundary, would have been visible from Perth, the Sidlaws and the Angus Munros.
Councillors heard impassioned pleas from objectors including eco-tourism operator Euan Ivory who said approval for the plan could ruin his business and put full and part-time jobs at risk.
Mr Ivory said his operation is a contributor to the commercially advertised tourist beds in the surrounding area, but they had not been consulted by the developer over the proposal.
He also told councillors that 80 per cent of clients had said they would not return to the area if the turbine development went ahead.
Roger Clegg, Kirriemuir Landward West Community Council chairman, also said small communities in the area were having to deal with the “industrialisation” of the area’s hills.
Sarah Dooley, Wind Prospect’s senior development manager, told the committee the wind power is being supported by more people than ever before and that support increases with the number of turbines.
Forfar councillor Lynne Devine questioned the firm’s “persistence” with the scheme in the face of council guidance indicating there was “no scope” for large-scale windfarm development in the area.
Ms Dooley said the company has considered all of the planning documents and believes that Saddle Hill would be able to accommodate the development.
As well as refusing the application based on unacceptable landscape, visual and scheduled monument impacts, the committee strengthened the rejection at the suggestion of Arbroath councillor David Fairweather that the proposal would affect the area’s biodiversity.