Nov 4 2011 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Friday
CONTROVERSIAL wind turbine proposals near Thornhill have been rejected by councillors.
Stirling Council planners had warned that wind turbines could become the dominant feature of Stirling’s scenic Carse if even one was given the go-ahead.
But the council’s planning panel rejected the four separate applications, each for a single 50m turbine (73.5 metres blade to tip) at Braes of Boquhapple Farm, during a special hearing.
Three of the turbine proposals were submitted by Energy Merchants (Boquhapple) Ltd, Droineach Ltd and Baile A Phuill.
However, the fourth had been lodged by Thornhill Community Trust, seeking to cash in on Government feed-in tariff cash to spend on community projects.
All four were recommended for refusal by Stirling Council planners on grounds of their height being unsuitable for the location, adverse effect on features of scenic value through cumulative impact, scale and unacceptable intrusion on the landscape and neighbours.
The planners also said the applications are contrary to the Stirling Windfarm Capacity Study in 2007.
The panel was told that it had to apply the same tests of acceptability to the application by Thornhill Community Trust as to commercial applications.
Trust director Jelle Muylle said a public meeting last October had seen overwhelming support for the community venture, with only five out of 50 people objecting to the proposal.
He said the project would enable the village to achieve Government targets on renewable energy.
The panel heard the trust had been offered a lease of land on which it could own and operate the fourth turbine.
If two of the other turbines were approved the trust would receive a donation. If they were all approved the community trust would be given the fourth turbine, which would be 100 per cent funded via private finance.
Local resident Tim Reid and Ian Kelly of solicitors Graham and Sibbald represented the objectors.
Mr Reid referred to a meeting in March attended by more than 100 objectors and questioned whether Thornhill Community Trust had a mandate to speak on behalf of the community.
Mr Kelly said wind turbines were a lucrative source of subsidies for landowners and that iconic views were being “peppered” by windfarms.
Councillor Margaret Brisley, seconded by Councillor David Goss, moved the recommendation of refusal on each of the four applications.
Councillor Alasdair Macpherson moved an amendment but failed to find a seconder.