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Open meeting will discuss town wind turbines plan

Montrosians will have their chance to have a say at a public meeting on proposals for two 426-feet high turbines at GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) factory.

Montrose Community Council intends to hold the open event next month to gauge the public’s opinions before submitting its own formal comments on GSK’s planning application, which was submitted on December 23.

The community council has been criticised previously over an apparent lack of consultation on GSK’s proposals.

A spokesman for Ferryden-based action group No Way GSK recently accused the body of “downright sabotage” for failing to have the issue on its agenda and giving local people “a voice in the matter”.

But community council chairman Peter Davies maintained the subject would be raised at the appropriate time, after GSK had lodged its planning application.

At Thursday’s community council meeting Mr Davies said the intention is to hold the meeting early next month, which will still give time for formal responses to be lodged with Angus Council.

And the chairman also said that although it will be organised by the community council, there will be an independent chairman and secretary. He also said GSK representatives will be invited to put forward the company’s case for erecting the turbines.

He said: “There will be a time clock on it and GSK will have 10 minutes for a presentation and all speakers will then have five minutes. After the meeting all the comments will be put together and the community council will meet after this public meeting to finalise what its decision is.”

Although Mr Davies acknowledged the meeting will be open to all, he also questioned if Ferryden and Hillside residents would be entitled to put forward their views as they live outwith Montrose Community Council’s area, which includes the Cobden Street site.

While Montrose is the only statutory consultee out of the district’s three community councils, Ferryden has already held a public meeting and discussed the issue at length. Residents concerned about having the turbines in full view of the village also formed the No Way GSK action group, which draws members from across the area.

Mr Davies added: “We can’t stop anyone attending the meeting, but it’s Montrose’s problem.”

Councillors Mark Salmond and David May urged the community council to seek clarification and advice from Angus Council’s law and administration department.

Mr Salmond said: “They are members of the public in Montrose and District and you should take advice on that before you make a final decision.”

Planning contact John Ruddy confirmed that confusion over a 14-day deadline for comments, mentioned in Angus Council’s official notification of the application, has been clarified. There were fears this could severely restrict the community council’s consultation and the public’s response.

He said: “I’ve spoken to them and so has David May. That is a statutory minimum and they’re quite happy to take any recommendations or proposals from us. I told them we’re looking at holding a public meeting in February and they know we’ll pass on our comments from that.

“Planning said it would be several months before it came up at committee.”

Mr Davies said the meeting’s details will be confirmed closer to the time.