‘Dominant and incongruous’ Inverclyde wind farm plan looks set for refusal

The potential view of the turbines form Corlic Hill
The potential view of the turbines from Corlic Hill

Plans for a major wind farm development above Greenock look set be rejected next week.

Inverclyde Windfarm Ltd want to build eight 110-metre turbines at Corlic Hill, but Inverclyde Council’s planning board is recommended to refuse the plan on Wednesday.

The developers have offered to create a community fund worth £150,000 per year, but planners say the wind farm would have too great a visual impact, as well as affecting air traffic.

The turbines would be visible from both sides of the Clyde, and Argyll and Bute Council was among those to object because of the impact on views from Cardross, Helensburgh and Kilcreggan.

National Air Traffic services also objected, as did Glasgow Airport Safeguarding which said the site was on one of the main entry/exit lanes into the airport and the turbines would affect radar, putting safety at risk.

The site is also next to Clyde Muirshiel regional park, which said the wind farm would have adverse visual, landscape, ecology and cumulative impacts.

Other objectors included North Ayrshire Council and 703 members of the public – only one person made a comment in support of the plan.

A report by planning officer David Ashman said the wind farm would be visible from cars and buses on the A814, as well as rail passengers on the West Highland Line.

“I share the concerns of Argyll and Bute Council in considering that although the towns, villages, recreational and tourist areas and travel routes on the north side of the Clyde are more distant from the wind farm, distance does not diminish the change to the character of the landscape that this visual impact will bring. All that changes is the magnitude,” says the report.

It supports the view that the development would affect Clyde Muirshiel park, and says tourism might be affected as the turbines would be visible from Greenock Ocean Terminal and sites on the other side of the Clyde such as Dumbarton Castle.

“This application, despite the applicant’s attempts to absorb the wind farm into the landscape, still remains visually prominent to the detriment of the character of the landscape,” the report concludes.

“The applicant has chosen a site of extreme visual prominence at the top of a rolling hills landform overlooking towns and in one of the most scenic areas of Scotland.

“The wind farm would be a dominant and incongruous feature of the skyline, as viewed from parts of Greenock, Kilmacolm and the wider Clyde Estuary.”

A previous application for a larger wind farm on the site, with 22 turbines, was refused after a public inquiry in 2005, with impact on Clyde Muirshiel park and airport operations both being cited.