Agenda and minutes

Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee - Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:30 am

Venue: Main Hall, Corran Halls, The Esplanade, Oban

Contact: Fiona McCallum Tel. No. 01546 604392 

No. Item




Apologies for absence were intimated from Councillors Gordon Blair, Robin Currie, George Freeman and Alistair MacDougall.




None declared.



Report by Head of Planning and Regulatory Services

Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.  Charles Reppke, Head of Governance and Law, outlined the procedure that would be followed and invited anyone who wished to speak at the meeting to identify themselves.  Once that process had been completed the Chair invited the Planning Officers to set out their recommendations.




Richard Kerr, Principal Planning Officer, advised that this application was first considered by Members at the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee held on 19 September 2012, when it had been resolved to continue consideration of the matter pending the convening of a discretionary local hearing in response to the number of third party representations received, both for and against the proposal.   He advised that in addition to the Officer’s report prepared for the September meeting, Members had before them a further supplementary report which clarified the stance adopted by Scottish Natural Heritage in their consultation response, provided further consultation responses from SEPA and the Council’s Roads Engineers in response to additional information subsequently provided by the Applicant, and which detailed late representations received from third parties.  He advised that the supplementary report now included amended reasons for refusal in the light of the final positions adopted by consultees.    He advised that he intended to confine himself to a few introductory remarks and then would hand over to his colleague Arlene Knox who would take Members through the detail of the application, the consultation and third party responses, policy considerations, and the reasons why the application was being recommended for refusal by Officers.  For the benefit of members of the public, he pointed out that the Councillors had the opportunity of acquainting themselves with the site and its surroundings and that representative viewpoints between Kilninver and Balvicar had been visited this morning to enable an appreciation of the relationship of the turbines with the surrounding area.  In the first instance he reminded Members that as with the determination of all planning applications, the starting point in the assessment of the merits of the proposal had to be the Council’s approved Development Plan, which comprised the 2002 Structure Plan and the 2009 Local Plan.  Section 37 of the 1997 Planning Act required that planning authorities in dealing with applications for planning permission shall have regard to the provisions of the Development Plan, so far as material to the application, and to other material planning considerations.  Section 25 augments that duty, by requiring that the determination shall be made in accordance with that Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.  He advised that there were a number of development plan policies relevant to this case as set out in Section J of the report.  Of these, the most significant was Policy LP REN 1 which related specifically to the development of wind farms. That policy was accompanied by a spatial strategy which mapped areas of search for windfarms and those areas which were subject to constraints. However, in line with the government’s Scottish Planning Policy, such mapping was only required in respect of schemes with a generating capacity in excess of 20MW, so the 8MW scheme proposed here did not benefit from any mapping to indicate any presumption for or against the proposal.   Accordingly, there was a need to revert to a criteria based assessment in terms of the various relevant interests set out in Policy LP REN1, including such matters as landscape and visual impact, cumulative impact with other developments, impacts upon communities, natural and historic environment considerations and other technical matters.  Those matters which had to be regarded as legitimate planning considerations were set out in sections 187 to 191 of Scottish Planning Policy, which as a 2010 document post-dated the Council’s 2009 Local Plan, although the matters requiring to be assessed in terms of Policy LP REN1 were consistent with the subsequent government position.  SPP makes it clear that in coming to a conclusion on the merits of a planning application the Council should confine itself to material planning considerations, to the exclusion of those matters which were not legitimately related to the development and use of land.  In particular, in the context of windfarm developments, he advised that Members would be aware that any community benefit advanced in support of proposals could not be regarded as a legitimate planning consideration and should be disregarded in the adjudication of the application.   Beyond the Development Plan, he advised that it was necessary for Members to have regard to the views of consultees and third parties who had expressed both objection and support for the proposal.  It was also necessary for Members to have regard to Council approved guidance and whilst this was to be accorded less weight than development plan policy, it still constituted a material planning consideration.   He advised that the most significant document in that context was the Argyll & Bute Landscape Wind Energy Capacity Study 2012 jointly commissioned by the Council and Scottish Natural Heritage and latterly approved by the Council.  He advised that the application site lay within the defined Craggy Coast and Islands Landscape Character Type which currently only accommodated two 32m high turbines on the island of Luing.  The study concluded that sensitivity within this LCT should be regarded as being high for larger and medium scale turbines of between 35m and 130m, and to be high/medium for even small scale turbines of less than 35m. This proposal for turbines of 77m in height must therefore be regarded with a high degree of caution in the context of the conclusions of the approved landscape capacity study.   He advised that Members who were new to this Committee might also like to note that a windfarm comprising 15 turbines 125m high within the nearby Raera forest was refused by this Committee on landscape impact grounds at the end of 2010.   Finally, he advised that it was incumbent on Members to have regard to the need to adhere to the principles of sustainable development, which were embedded in national planning policy.  One  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.