Councillors have refused planning permission for a windfarm on Strone Saul Hill near Dunoon.
It was standing room only at Kilmun Hall, the venue for Monday’s planning hearing to decide on the application from Infinergy Ltd.
The refusal to grant consent for the eight-turbine windfarm came despite an offer from Infinergy, made last week, to donate the income from one turbine over its lifetime to the community – a total of £1.6 million over approximately 25 years.
Both objectors and supporters were present at Monday’s meeting, and both camps took the opportunity to represent their views – covered extensively in previous issues of the Standard.
Planning officers had recommended refusal of the application, having received numerous objections, including one from Scottish Natural Heritage and community councils from both sides of the Clyde.
The planning committee members voted unanimously to reject Infinergy’s proposals.
Cllr Bruce Marshall told the Standard: “While I regret the loss of the community benefit, I had no option but to vote for refusal on the grounds that the turbines would be seen by the entire communities of Kilmun, Strone and Ardentinny, as well as from across the water.
“These are spectacular views and I am also concerned about spoiling the amenity for local residents, not just for tourists.”
In a press statement, Infinergy chief executive Charles Sandham expressed the company’s disappointment at the decision, adding: “The site is a very good location for a windfarm.
“This was the perfect opportunity for councillors to make a difference and help combat climate change, an opportunity that has, for the moment, been lost.”
Objectors welcomed the councillor’s vote against the plans. “It’s not about wind farms in general, necessarily, but it is about appropriately sited windfarms, and this one was not,” said one caller to the Standard.
It is not yet known if Infinergy are planning to make an appeal to Scottish ministers about the planning decision. Communications manager Marlies Koutstaal said: “We have to hold a meeting with our investors before we can make any decision about that.”
One local organisation which will be happy about the outcome is the Glenkin Trust. The much-loved outdoor centre is located near the proposed windfarm site, and faced a closure threat last year.
After a solution was found to keep Glenkin open, trustees were dismayed to discover the windfarm proposals, which could have caused problems for its plans to regenerate use of the facility.
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