An appeal to allow a controversial wind turbine near Strathmiglo has been dismissed by a Scottish Government Reporter.
e-Gen Partners Ltd lodged an appeal over the decision of Fife Council’s north east planning committee to refuse permission for a 54-metre turbine in a field on Demperston Farm, less than a mile from Auchtermuchty and Strathmiglo.
In his decision, Reporter Michael Cunliffe also highlighted the conservation areas in the two communities and the proximity of listed buildings in the countryside.
Commenting on the strategic plan for the area - TAYplan - Mr Cunliffe said that while it contained polices for renewable energy, the appeal proposal was “too small to be of strategic significance.”
While the landscape impacts of the proposal would be limited in their extent and severity, they would in some respects be “significantly adverse” and not compatible with local plan policy.
The greatest visual effect would be on Strathmiglo, south-west of the appeal site.
The Reporter said: “A substantial part of the settlement is designated as a conservation area. While views of the turbine would be obstructed by buildings from many locations within Strathmiglo, there are also positions from which it would be clearly visible.
“The 55-metre contour runs through the centre of Strathmiglo, meaning that the turbine base would be elevated 25 metres above the settlement, with the blade tips nearly 80 metres above.
“I consider the backdrop of low hills, fields and woods important to the appreciation of the character of Strathmiglo.
“The turbine, on its elevated site, would be a prominent intrusion into this rural setting when viewed from areas around the town green and the Parish Kirk.”
Turning to the impact on Auchtermuchty, Mr Cunliffe believed the effect on the town’s conservation area would “not be significant.”
“The main visual effect in Auchtermuchty would be on houses in Leckiebank Road at a range of about 1.2 kilometres. While the turbine would be clearly visible from these, and would be obtrusive in their outlook, it would be sufficiently distant not to have a dominating effect.” More significant visual effects would be experienced at Demperston Farm Cottages, beside ther A91 and at Leckiebank Farm.
Turning to listed buildings, including the category ‘A’ Pitlour House - whose main frontage faced the proposed site - the Reporter said there would be “extensive theoretical visibility” issues.
Among the objectors were Auchtermuchty Landscape and Environment Group, who put forward a detailed case when the application was considered by the council.
They claimed the turbine would have a “significant negative impact” on visual amenity at Strathmiglo, as well as users of the A91.
The group also said the landscape character of the Lowland hills and valleys would be affected. “There would be harm to the built environment, in terms of the significant impact on Pitlour House.”
The Reporter concluded: “The proposed development does not accord overall with the relevant provisions of the development plan and that there are no material considerations which would still justify granting planning permission.”