The Scottish Government has dismissed an appeal against refusal of planning permission for two wind turbines on a hillside site north of Rothesay Bay.
Reporter Stephen Hall cited the impact on views from Rothesay, Craigmore and the Wemyss Bay ferry as major factors in his decision to turn down the appeal against refusal of plans for the turbines, each 47 metres tall to blade tip and capable of generating 225 kilowatts of electricity, on land to the west of Newton Park in Innellan.
In his report, Mr Hall says: “The economy of Rothesay is closely linked to tourism, and an important part of the attractiveness of the town for visitors is the highly scenic panoramic view that may be had from the sea front.
“I place a great deal of weight on the importance of preserving the quality of this view.
“The Area of Panoramic Quality identified in the local plan seeks to protect the character of this landscape, and although the proposed turbines are just outside this area, as tall structures they will be clearly visible on the skyline from within it.
“Although at a distance of around 5 kilometres, the turbines would nevertheless catch the eye as incongruous features in a view currently largely devoid of large commercial structures and which is particularly valued for its dramatic natural character.”
Mr Hall also refers to the views of the site available from the ferry crossing to and from Wemyss Bay.
“The Wemyss Bay to Rothesay ferry is an important transport route for residents of, and visitors to, Bute,” he continues.
“It also provides an opportunity for passengers to admire the attractive scenery. Avoiding harm to views from the ferry is therefore particularly important.
“Photomontages from several points on the ferry route have been provided, but the greatest impact is likely to be from a point east of any of these, where the ferry passes closest to Toward Point.
“Albeit against a background of forestry, from this section of the route, the turbines would appear as large structures on the hill slope facing out across the expanse of the Firth of Clyde.”
The application, by John Stirling of Toward Taynuilt farm, was turned down by Argyll and Bute Council in January. It attracted 20 objections from members of the public - most of which came from addresses in Ascog on Bute - and three expressions of support.
The turbines which were proposed for the site near Newton Park would have been the same size as those Bute Community Power hopes to see built at Auchintirrie farm to the west of Rothesay.