Fears that a windfarm developer was trying to confuse potential objectors by lodging plans just before Christmas have been allayed.
RES Group submitted its proposals for a five-turbine project at Barcloy Hill near Kirkcudbright on December 21 but they didn’t appear on the council website until Monday.
Local people were concerned that this was done so that anyone wanting to support or oppose the proposals would be forced to do so over the festive period, making it unclear when the 28 day period for submissions to be made was due to start or end. But after investigating the matter, local MP Russell Brown believes there are no problems for anyone want to make their feelings on the matter heard.
He said: “The planners have assured me there will still be plenty of time for the wider public to comment – the 28 days won’t begin until the application is advertised. It seems to be taking some time to consider as there are in excess of 100 pieces of paperwork.”
RES Group first unveiled its plans for six turbines with a tip height of 125 metres in 2011 but has since scaled them down to five turbines as tall as 115 metres, capable of generating as much as 12.5 megawatts.
And they are proposing as much as £62,500 per year in community benefits – some through a fund for local projects and some through an electricity discount scheme.
The firm said: “RES started discussions with the local community in early 2011 and has maintained an engagement process throughout this period.
“Now the planning application has a planning reference number, RES will be sending out newsletters to all the local residents in the community council areas of Auchencairn, Castle Douglas, Dundrennan, Kelton and Royal Burgh of Kirkcudbright and District, with information about the proposals and how local people can make their views known to the council.
“RES is more than happy to discuss concerns with individuals and community councils and provide further information. Please feel free to contact RES’ community relations manager Rachel Anderson on 0141 404 5531.” RES had created a community liaison group with members of the nearby community councils and while it hasn’t met for more than a year, Mr Brown is keen to see it resurrected to ensure local people’s views are heard
Keith Mycock, of pressure group Turbine Watch 312, said: “Local people had hoped RES had realised how inappropriate their proposed development was and had decided, as responsible developers would, not to submit an application.
“Sadly that is not the case and despite contravening clear guidance in the council’s interim planning policy and landscape capacity study, which identifies the site as unsuitable for large turbines over 80m, RES have decided to continue with their application.”
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