Westfield windfarm thrown into doubt

THE owners of a local historic building are threatening a legal challenge to Fife Council’s decision to grant planning permission for five wind turbines near Kinglassie.

Kiplun Guernsey, who own listed building Kinross House, have spent in excess of £15 million on a complete refurbishment of the estate, with work due to be completed there this year.

They say that when they purchased the historic site they had no idea that a windfarm would be built in view of Kinross House, which is within 6km of the proposed site at Westfield Open Cast Coal site.

Kiplun Guernsey were unable to comment at the time of going to press, but their lawyers sent a letter to Fife Council’s head of planning earlier this month, threatening to petition the Court of session for reduction of the planning permission, on the grounds that a “key material consideration has been omitted” in the planning process.

The letter states that the wind turbines would be in the “key axial view” from Kinross House and criticised the lack of meaningful consultation regarding the application.

The letter also bemoans the lack of consideration given to the wider historic environment.

However, Historic Scotland concluded in an appraisal of the environment statement for the application in 2009 that five wind turbines on the proposed site would create “no significant effects on heritage assets of national importance”.

Service manager Alastair Hamilton vowed to fight any legal challenge.

He said: “We believe the application was fully and properly assessed before councillors approved the plans. Full consultation was carried out and the committee report presented, amongst other things, an assessment of the potential impact on Kinross House.

“Any legal challenge to the validity of the decision will be strongly resisted.”

Fife Council granted Infinis conditional planning permission in June this year to erect five wind turbines, an anemometer mast and a substation building at the Westfield site. During the planning process for the controversial application it received a number of objections, most notably from nearby Fife Airport who warned that granting permission could lead to its closure, as the windfarm would infringe on the flightpath to the airfield.

Kinross House dates back to the late 17th century and was designed by Sir William Bruce. It was built on an axis with Loch Leven Castle and the town of Kinross.