Councillors have deferred a decision on a 20 turbine windfarm in a Highland beauty spot after demanding a site visit.
A decision was due to be reached on whether to allow planning permission for Glen Kyllachy windfarm near Tomatin yesterday.
But the South Planning Applications Committee voted instead to defer discussion of the plans after concerns were raised about the quality of visualisations of the proposed farm provided by developer RWE Innogy.
Councillor Margaret Davidson, Aird and Loch Ness, called the impressions put before the committee “particularly poor” and called for the decision to be deferred.
Campaign group Strathdearn Against Windfarm Developments (SAWD) had called for the discussion to be postponed before the meeting, claiming that the visualisations had ignored many points in the area where the turbines would be most visible.
Later group convenor Pat Wells said: “This is a sensible decision by the councillors and it is clear that they have taken our concerns seriously.
“The visualisations clearly aren’t up to the required standard and they are inadequate generally.
“The committee will get a far clearer picture of the land by undertaking a site visit and I feel that such visits should be mandatory for major developments like this one.”
The proposal by RWE Innogy is to build the 20 360ft turbines around the existing 40 turbine development at Farr.
If given permission they will be visible from the Slochd Summit and the A9 Inverness-Perth trunk road.
Councillor Paterson said she was concerned that the visuals did not show how the new development would fit in with the existing turbines.
She said: “These visualisations are particularly poor and they are in no way indicative of how you see Farr Windfarm in the landscape.
“They don’t give a real feel of the area.”
Both Strathnairn and Strathdearn community councils objected to the application.
Strathdearn had joined SAWD in asking for further visualisations to be made available of the windfarm.
Councillor Alan Baxter said: “It’s surely not unreasonable for the community council to ask for these if they are concerned.”
However, the plans unusually received more votes of support than objection.
Highland Council principal planner Ken McCorquodale told the councillors that the planning department had been deemed the submissions by the developer to be “more than sufficient”.
A spokeswoman for the developer said: “RWE Innogy UK agreed the final viewpoint selection with the Highland Council, SNH and the Cairngorms National Park Authority in line with best practice.”