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No Blackcraig inquiry decision yet

There is still no sign of a decision on a windfarm public inquiry held more than a year ago.

The Scottish Government has not been able to shed any light on progress, according to a report before councillors.

The planning, housing and environment services committee is keen to get an answer given that £250,000 of its service reserves are set aside to cover projected costs of the council’s objection.

The inquiry into Scottish and Southern Energy’s proposals for a 23 turbine development at Blackcraig near Balmaclellan closed in December 2009.

The council objection, in February, 2007, triggered the stop go public inquiry which was suspended in April 2008.

The £250,000 is part of service reserves currently standing at £573,340.

Members were also told there is a current underspend of £295,000 on the revenue budget, just £16,000 short of the one per cent savings the department is expected to achieve by the end of the year.

An underspend on staff costs is expected to be around £463,000, up £60,000 since November after vacancies remain unfilled.

And Tony Fitzpatrick, director of economic regeneration, will point out the most significant pressure within the service is an under recovery of income from building warrant fees.

“Due to the current economic conditions it is currently projected that building warrant fee income will be under recovered by £200,000,” he told the committee.

“However, the level of fees generated will continue to be closely monitored.”