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Council / Two housing developments given green light after councillors overturn planning decisions on appeal

A DECISION to reject planning permission for a new house in Weisdale due to the noise levels of a nearby wind turbine has been overturned by councillors on appeal.

Shetland Islands Council’s environmental health department had objected to the plans for the house in Cott due to the local authority’s ‘Small Wind Turbine Noise Procedure for Shetland’ guidance.

This raised concerns over the noise the turbine would emit and its proximity to the proposed new house.

The closest point of the property and its garden would be around 60 metres from the 5kW turbine.

However, the applicant had no problem with the location of the wind turbine and even entered into a financial agreement with its owners in a bid to overcome the noise regulations.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Monday, applicant Norman Moncrieff – who had lived in the area for around ten years – said his family had spent “hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds” on the process so far.

The local community council meanwhile had written a letter on the proposal suggesting wind turbine guidance was being used in “reverse”.

Lerwick South councillor Cecil Smith moved that the application be approved.

“I think that we as a council quite rightly try to encourage people to live in the country…and yet here we are saying you can’t build a house because of a small wind turbine,” he said.

Westside member Catherine Hughson backed Smith’s view, saying she had “every sympathy” with the applicant.

The application was ultimately given unanimous approval from councillors.

AN APPLICATION to build a two-storey extension on a bungalow in Lerwick was also approved by councillors on appeal after initially being rejected by planners who said it did not fit the character of the area.

Planning staff had said that the timber-clad, flat-roofed extension did not “harmonise” with existing properties at Fogralea.

Councillors were told the extension gave off a “towering appearance”.

Shetland Central councillor Moraig Lyall, however, questioned what exactly was the character of the area.

She believed it was “slightly dated bungalows that need to be brought into the 21st century”, with Lyall showing her support for the plans.

South mainland member George Smith also said that “character is quite a difficult concept to be definite about” – highlighting that it changes over time.

Shetland Central councillor Davie Sandison, however, said that the development sat outwith planning policy and should be refused permission.

After a 4-2 vote in favour of the application the extension was given the go-ahead.