Ryder Cup host Gleneagles raise wind farm concerns

A NEW wind farm has been given the green light, despite objections from Gleneagles golf resort who claimed that it would have an “adverse impact” on their business ahead of the Ryder Cup, it was revealed today.

Concerns have been raised over windfarm near the  Gleneagles golf course.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
Concerns have been raised over windfarm near the Gleneagles golf course. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The six turbine Rhodders Wind Farm in the Ochils, between Blackford and the Clackmannanshire, was approved despite objections from the golf resort who said it would add to the “cumulative visual impact” of existing turbines.

The project was given the go ahead on appeal, by the Directorate for Environmental and Planning Appeals, after initial plans were rejected following the Ryder Cup venue’s objections.

Energy firm Wind Prospect wanted to add to the clusters of turbines in the area around Burnfoot Hill, but Clackmannanshire Council threw out the scheme.

The DPEA’s reporter Michael Cunliffe, who acts on behalf of Scottish ministers, overturned the Wee County council’s decision which was based on jarring with local plans and cumulative impact.

Mr Cunliffe concluded that the proposal met the requirements of a development plan from the neighbouring local authority. The 12MWscheme would power nearly

7000 households with access to the site from the A9 and A823 near Glendevon.

He said: “I consider the degree of non-conformity to be relatively minor, and outweighed by the material consideration of the scheme’s contribution to renewable energy needs.

“There are no other material considerations of sufficient weight to justify the refusal of planning permission.”

The scheme generated 51 letters of objection and the same number in support, with Gleneagles Hotel submitting an objection through its agents Colliers.

A response said the cumulative impact of the array of wind farms, with further applications also still to be considered, would affect hotel and golf course interests.

A spokeswoman for the Golf Course said: “The hotel believes that all landscapes, regardless of designation, carry a degree of intrinsic value.”

It said that for the first time views from the hotel would be affected by turbine hubs on the skyline and that Strathearn was at risk of becoming a “wind farm landscape.”

The reporter assessed the visual impacts from close to three settlements.

He reported: “Closer views, from around 10 kilometres, would be obtained from the vicinities of Auchterarder, Gleneagles and Braco.

“These would feature the blades, or parts of the blades, of some Rhodders turbines as well as parts of Burnfoot Hill and Green Knowes. Some successive views would also be obtained from roads to the north of the Ochils.

He said: “I do not consider any of these cumulative effects to be significant, other than those experienced by recreational users of paths within the Ochil Hills.”

He said the additional impact at Gleneagles would be “neglible” while in Braco the impact would be “noticeably greater” with around five turbines visible, although they could be screened by vegetation.

He ruled the wind farm grouping’s appearance would be “slight” while the visual effects would be “very minor” in Auchterarder.

At the outset of the application the scheme was for nine turbines, but this was reduced to six.