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Community council rapped over wind farm talks  

Credit:  Mar 29 2013 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post | www.ayrshirepost.net ~~

A community council has landed in hot water after meeting with wind farm developers.

Girvan Community Council threw its support behind plans for turbines on Tralorg Hill.

But anger erupted when they confessed to being involved with the developer “since day one”.

And when they pointed to financial benefits for Girvan as one of their main reasons for supporting the project, furious South Ayrshire councillors lost the rag.

SNP councillor, Nan McFarlane, pointed out: “I know from my own involvement with community councils that you cannot meet with developers during applications.

“And I’m not comfortable with the financial benefits being brought forward like this.”

Ken Johnstone, chair of Girvan Community Council, had stepped forward to support applicants PNE Wind UK.

The firm say their eight turbine project could create 50 construction jobs and generate £2.5m for the Carrick community during its lifetime.

And Mr Johnstone told councillors on South Ayrshire’s regulatory panel: “PNE has worked with us since day one and has sought to resolve any issues raised in the community.”

He claimed a phone poll of 174 households had also been largely supportive and added: “By refusing this plan, you are going against the majority of Girvan’s wishes.

“It would be damaging to Girvan’s growth and perverse of the council to reject the proposal.”

Carrick councillors Alec Clark and John McDowall also put their names forward in support, pointing to the economic boost.

But objectors ridiculed the idea of support, saying the wind farm would be situated 2km east from Girvan and had no real physical impact on the town.

Those in the eye of the storm said any community cash boost should be dismissed.

Charlie Welsh, chair of Pinwherry Community Council, said: “It does not detract from the detrimental impact this would have on South Carrick.”

SNP councillor, Alec Oattes, backed the views of objectors, before councillors on the panel sought a legal ruling on whether Girvan Community Council had stepped out of line.

They were told that under PAN 47 (a government planning guideline), discussions between applicants and community councils are “strongly discouraged”.

Applicant PNE blasted South Ayrshire council for a report “littered with personal opinion” and insisted they had a “strong emphasis on community involvement”.

But councillors were firm in their rejection of the wind farm.

And they were distinctly unimpressed with how business had been handled.

Conservative Ann Galbraith said: “It’s pretty obvious that the people of Girvan would be delighted with this proposal – it’s not hampering them in the slightest and they obviously want the money in a selfish way.”

Source:  Mar 29 2013 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post | www.ayrshirepost.net

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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