The University of St Andrews’ plans for a windfarm on the outskirts of St Andrews could be under threat after the owners of the Old Course Hotel lodged a formal complaint earlier this month.
In the objection drafted to Fife Council, the hotel warned that the plans for six 100m turbines at Kenly Farm, near Boarhills, would have “detrimental visual and economic impacts” on St Andrews, particularly in relation to tourism.
“The impression that may be taken by visitors to the town and its facilities will not be what was expected or anticipated by them, in terms of their currently being able to enjoy views of an unspoilt landscape,” stated the complaint, drafted by consultancy firm Colliers on behalf of the Old Course.
The University hopes that the planned windfarm will offset rising energy costs, which have risen to £5.4m a year, as well as reducing carbon emissions.
Herb Kohler, the owner of the Old Course Hotel, purchased Hamilton Hall, the former University residence overlooking the Old Course’s 18th green, in 2009, and is currently developing the formerly derelict property into luxury private residences, to be called the Hamilton Grand. It is understood there are significant concerns over the detrimental impact of the windfarm to the views of Hamilton Grand residents.
The University and the St Andrews’ Student Association were united in expressing their support for the windfarm plans in response to the hotel’s concerns.
Roddy Yarr, the University’s Environment and Energy Manager, told The Saint: “One might argue that the business community could applaud the foresight of an institution that is making positive steps towards actually doing something about climate change, tackling rising energy costs, providing its own energy source, reducing its exposure to volatile energy markets and developing a community fund.”
Yarr highlighted the windfarm’s positive eco-credentials and potential for job-creation and contribution to the Scottish economy.
Student Association president Patrick O’Hare argued that opposition to the plans reflected “scaremongering from a privileged minority who don’t want their retirement view ruined by a few wind turbines.”
The Old Course’s complaint coincides with accusations from US billionaire business magnate Donald Trump that Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is “hell bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline” with the installation of wind turbines. “You will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history,” Trump wrote to Salmond over the plans.