Plans for a large wind turbine in the centre of a north-east town which have attracted opposition were rejected yesterday.
Banff and Buchan councillors voted down proposals for a 100ft mast at Princess Royal Park, Banff.
One councillor said the visual impact would be “absolutely devastating” while another said councillors could not ignore local opposition.
Backing came from committee chairman councillor Sydney Mair, of Macduff, who claimed councillors should look to the future.
He said: “It is all very well saying to preserve the heritage, but if you don’t do something about energy, how are future generations going to look back?”
The wind turbine scheme was proposed by the Princess Royal Sports and Community Trust to produce savings in energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint.
Aberdeenshire planners raised concerns about the size, scale and location of the proposed turbine at the ground of Deveronvale FC. They claimed that any economic benefits would not outweigh the need to protect the environment from inappropriate development.
Councillors, meeting at Banff, heard from Mark Findlater, of the local business association, that a petition against the scheme had been signed by 500 people.
He said: “The visual impact of this would be massive and the main objection from the business association and people who signed is the site.”
He claimed some local businesses felt a turbine would have a negative impact on tourism.
He said: “A wind turbine there is going to change the face of Banff forever.”
Julian Watson, of Banff Preservation and Heritage Society, said it was the “sheer scale” which concerned his group. He claimed the turbine would not comply with 11 planning policies and said alternatives such as photo cells and solar panels could be investigated. Banff area councillor Ian Gray said he would normally support turbines “but this one in the middle of Banff would be absolutely devastating”.
Councillor Brian Topping, of Fraserburgh, said he did not see how councillors could ignore the “massively strong feelings of opposition”.
Banff councillor John Cox declared an interest as a director of Deveronvale FC and took no part in the debate.
Mr Gray’s motion to refuse the application defeated Mr Mair’s amendment to approve it by four votes to three.