August 19, 2011

Moray village despairs as new turbine plans are launched

By Stuart Crowther, 19 August 2011

Frustrated residents of a picturesque Moray coastal village were left stunned after learning that plans to erect wind turbines overlooking their community are to be resubmitted.

The bombshell came just 24 hours after members of the Cummingston Residents Action Group were celebrating what they had hoped was a victory over the proposals.

Planning permission was first sought for four wind turbines overlooking the village of Cummingston in November 2010, prompting immediate protests from residents of Cummingston and the nearby communities of Burghead and Hopeman.

It was confirmed by Moray Council that the issue was to be brought before councillors at a meeting of the Planning and Regulatory Services Committee on Tuesday.

Officials had recommended rejecting the proposal on the grounds that it was contrary to the Moray Local Plan, because the number of turbines proposed put the project into the ‘wind farm’ category and because the turbines would be visually intrusive.

There was also an objection lodged by the Ministry of Defence on the grounds that the turbines could interfere with air traffic control radar systems at RAF Lossiemouth.

However, the proposal will not now be considered by planners as a variation has been lodged for three turbines rather than the original four.

That means the entire planning process must start again from the beginning.

Secretary of the Burghead and Cummingston Community Council, Chris Tuke, said: “My sympathies for this are with the people of Cummingston and the frustration that they must feel.

“They have put considerable time and effort into this, as have council officials, and now it has to start all over again.

“I understand that the new application will now be advertised and, yet again, it is not expected that any neighbouring properties will be directly notified because of the council’s policy.

“So all residents with concerns about these proposals will need to resubmit them with regard to the revised proposal, as all previous objections to the plans will not be taken into account.”

Issue Removed

A Moray Council spokesman confirmed on Thursday night that the issue would now be removed from the planning meeting on Tuesday and councillors who had been expected to visit the site would not now do so.

He said: “Confirmation of the amended application only reached us after the agenda papers for next Tuesday’s meeting had been published.

“Therefore the item has been withdrawn. We understand that the amended application will be for three turbines rather than four.”

David Townsend, secretary of the Cummingston Residents Action Group, said: “The fight to protect our village from these wholly unacceptable proposals goes on.

“The longer it drags out with no concrete pouring into holes in our beautiful countryside, the better chance we have of bringing more people on board to fight this scandal, which is being imposed upon us by the very people paid to protect us.

“I was always taught to fight from the moral high ground and they can’t take that away from us!

“The fact that the proposal has been reduced from four to three turbines makes no difference whatsoever to the reasons why they should not be built on this site.

“Planners have already conceded that the proposal would be visually intrusive.

“Furthermore, the site would be right against a popular coastal tourist route, and from a health and safety perspective worryingly close to homes on the South side, despite the recommendations of various local authority departments that have supported the proposals to date.”

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