Venue: An Cridhe, Arinagour, Isle of Coll
Contact: Fiona McCallum Tel. No. 01546 604392
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were intimated from Councillors Gordon Blair, Fred Hall, Robert G MacIntyre and Richard Trail.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
GALLANACH GREEN GENERATION LTD: CONSTRUCTION OF 1 X 750KW WIND TURBINE (77M TO BLADE TIP), CRANE HARDSTANDING, CONTROL BUILDING, TEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION COMPOUND AND FORMATION OF VEHICULAR ACCESS: GALLANACH, ISLE OF COLL (REF: 11/01915/PP) PDF 122 KB
Report by Head of Planning and Regulatory Services
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and invited anyone who wished to speak at the meeting to identify themselves. The Committee then introduced themselves and outlined the hearing procedure. Once that process had been completed the Chair invited the Planning Department to set out their recommendations.
Stephen Fair, Area Team Leader for Oban, Lorn and the Isles, spoke to the terms of his report advising that this proposal was for the erection of a single wind turbine on land at Gallanach Farm, Isle of Coll. He advised that the original application was for two turbines and that this was reduced to one turbine during the course of the application. The turbine measures 55 metres to hub height and 77 metres to blade tip with an output generating capacity of 750 kw. It will be a commercial enterprise exporting electricity to the national grid and therefore subject to assessment through Local Plan policy LP REN 1. The proposal includes several different elements such as road improvements with 750 metres of a new access track, a small borrow pit, crane hardstanding, control building and temporary construction compound. He referred to a number of slides and highlighted the site in terms of the Local Plan and showed the location of the various elements of the proposal. He also highlighted the nearest neighbouring properties to the site. As per the adopted Argyll and Bute Local Plan 2009 the site is designated as ‘sensitive countryside’. Policy LP REN 1 for commercial wind turbine proposals makes allowances for the erection of turbines on suitable sites so long as set criteria can be satisfactorily addressed. This criterion includes impacts on communities and their settings, nature conservation, landscape and townscape character, core paths, rights of ways, historic environment, telecommunications, tourism and peat deposits and each of these were assessed and explained in detail in the planning report. During the course of the application the Council adopted a Wind Energy Capacity Study (WECS) in 2012 and although it does not specifically provide guidance on Coll it does state that the smaller islands (Coll, Colonsay and Tiree) do not generally have the capacity to successfully absorb larger typology turbines ie those greater than 50 metres. As a strategic document, the WECS itself encourages site specific assessment on a case by case basis. The authors of the study were asked how this study should be applied specifically to Coll and they advised that as the landscape character types found on the Island were comparable to those found on Jura and Islay it would be considered appropriate to assess the turbine against three of those landscape character types – Marginal Farmland Mosaic, Coastal Parallel Ridges and Sand Dunes and Machair. The guidance set out for those landscape character types can be transposed to be applied wherever each type exists on the smaller islands. In this instance it is considered that the landscape in this part of Coll is one where there are few extensive views over the sand dunes and machair landscape character type to the coast and the rocky outcropping in the marginal farmland mosaic landscape creates a feeling of intimacy within what is actually a larger landscape in reality. The site lies in a transitional area between the different landscape character types. The relative height and level of the turbine set against the surrounding landscape features mean the scale is more readily accepted into this transitional area than may otherwise be the case if a turbine of this size were to be sited in only one of the main character types. Mr Fair referred to the contents of supplementary planning reports 1 and 2 which addressed further representations received from third parties. He advised that an updated petition with 95 signatures had been received and in terms of public participation there have been 29 direct objections, 1 petition with 95 signatures, 4 neutral responses and 21 representations of support. He advised that the Applicant was opposed to conditions 4 and 5 recommended by Planning and was opposed to the requirement for a Section 75 Agreement. A detailed assessment of these responses is contained in the original report of handling and supplementary planning reports 1 and 2. Mr Fair provided a summary of the issues raised by objectors, confirming that they related to: proximity to residential properties, noise, shadow flicker, visual impact, road impact, tourist impact, need for the proposal, wildlife impact, character of the island, ornithology, impact on seals, grid capacity, removal at end of lifeline, devaluation of property, skylining, call for a strategic approach and community benefit. He advised that some of these were not material planning considerations and others had been addressed by statutory consultees or were not supported by Officer assessment. He advised that the main issues to consider were the visual impact of the proposal and the landscape impact of the proposal. He referred to a number of photographs which gave views of the site of the proposed turbine from various locations around the Island. He advised that visual impact was a key issue for determining the application and was somewhat subjective in terms of the degree of impact. The Planning assessment is that views of the site are progressive for the majority of the visitors and population travelling from Arinagour, whereby the turbine first appears over a long distance view. He advised that landscape impact was the subject of concern by SNH who were also the main funders behind the Council technical WECS document. Mr Fair recommended that subject to the conclusion of a Section 75 Agreement the planning application be granted for the reasons stated in the report and subject to 9 conditions also detailed in the report.
Roger McMichael of Atmos Consulting, Agents for the development, spoke in support of the application by Gallanach Green Generation Ltd for the erection of a single wind turbine up to 77m at Gallanach on Coll. He advised that Atmos Consulting designed the scheme and prepared the application and accompanying Environmental Appraisal. ... view the full minutes text for item 3.