Controversial wind turbine thrown out after blimp display

Councillors agreed to ratify the decision to refuse the scheme

A north-east farmer’s hope of installing a massive wind turbine on the edge of a village has been dashed.

James Beattie wanted to built a 326ft mast on his land in Cornhill, which could have provided thousands of pounds to local groups each year.

But the scheme – which has attracted hundreds of objections – was thrown out by the Banff and Buchan area committee yesterday.

Campaigners feared the scale of the turbine was not appropriate to the area.

And a local group against the development even flew a giant blimp near where the turbine was to be erected to help councillors visualise how big the mast would be during a site visit last week.

Councillors were yesterday divided on the impact the blimp had in their decision making.

Yesterday, Michael Roy said the bright red balloon “graphically demonstrated the effect (the turbine is) going to have and the impact on the surrounding district”.

“And not only on the surrounding district, but on the amenity of the local people who live round about it,” he added.

“It has torn the community of Cornhill down the centre.”

Councillor Mark Findlater added: “This turbine will completely dominate Cornhill,” he said.

Councillor Ian Gray, however, branded the 19ft inflatable as a “red herring” because it was more than 2,000ft away from the site of the proposed turbine.

“It’s supported by most of the people in Cornhill. I think it will be hugely beneficial to the local area and the economy in terms of jobs,” he said.

“The situation of the blimp was a red herring. And to say the village is split down the middle is farcical to say the least.”

Mr Gray was supported by Fraserburgh representative Brian Topping in calling for the turbine to go ahead, but was ultimately defeated by colleagues six votes to two.

Mr Beattie had claimed that his turbine would have supported the local community to the sum of £23,000 each year for the next 20 years if it were built.

“If I thought I was messing up and upsetting local neighbours, I would have withdrawn this long ago,” he said.

In an article last week, we reported that 40 people had objected to the wind farm. In fact, a total of 217 objections were lodged with Aberdeenshire Council. Forty of the objectors hired a solicitor to represent them at a previous Banff and Buchan area committee meeting. There were also 357 letters of support submitted to the council.