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Vote against turbines

People in and around Ferryden have voted by a narrow margin to oppose GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) application for two wind turbines at its local factory.

Ferryden and Craig Community Council mounted a month-long survey of residents within its ward to help formulate a response to the company’s planning application, which was lodged with Angus Council in December.

In a result which was closer than expected, of the 186 relevant returns, 85 respondents supported the proposal while 97 were against. Four expressed no opinion on the scheme.

The survey was set up in January after it emerged that some of the village’s residents, who support GSK’s plans, claimed they had felt intimidated into keeping quiet by local opponents to the scheme.

Opposition has been rumbling in the village due mainly to the turbines’ size and the visual impact residents feel the they would have, with the No Way GSK campaign established as a result.

The consultation, which was open only to those within the community council’s area, was run online, on paper and through the Review, the results of which were revealed at a specially convened community council meeting last Thursday.

Fears that the survey process could have been hijacked and influenced by multiple voting, however, do not appear to have been borne out. Online results were checked for shared IP addresses and one instance found, although this was included as two different names had been given.

Paper returns were checked for postcode area and those from outwith Ferryden were noted and separated and there was “no clear evidence” that there had been multiple returns from a single person.

Mark Johnston, from Angus Council’s community learning and development unit who oversaw the procedure, told community councillors there were also no unreasonable numbers of returns.

He said: “Clearly there are very strong feelings on this and many comments from people both supporting and opposing it but there has been a lot of honesty in how people have gone about it. People haven’t tried to get around the system and I’d like to thank them for that.”

Community councillors voted six to two to lodge a formal objection to the 426-feet high turbines on the village’s behalf.

Chairman Gordon Brown said: “The stance we have to take is clear and we’ll put in a letter of objection stating that we don’t support the application. I also propose we include a copy of the survey results which will maybe make it carry more weight.”

No Way GSK member Tina Maclean re-emphasised the group’s view that the turbines are located in the wrong place.

She said: “Throughout the whole of this no-one has been anti-GSK or anti- wind turbine. The problem is just the location of them and the size – the siting of them is just wrong.”