In response to the piece on community benefit and Newburgh Community Trust; Murdo Fraser is calling a spade a spade.
Community benefit is an inducement to buy support for a planning application and is one way of trying to make an unacceptable proposal acceptable.
Whether the money comes from the developer as a community benefit or to a community trust in grants to process an application for their own wind turbine or farm the public always pays one way or another.
The Newburgh Community Trust’s efforts to become a wind farmer were doomed from the outset by proceeding with an overblown project on an extremely sensitive site and the best part of £300,000 of taxpayers’ money was squandered on consultants.
That sum was in the form of a soft loan. Win planning permission and pay it back or fail and the loan is written off. The same sort of money is being “invested” by the Scottish Government on similarly daft schemes.
One is at Tillyrie near Milnathort on a site where previous applications have been refused planning permission and an appeal dismissed by a Scottish Government Reporter.
Not much joined-up thinking there, then.
And over in Argyll a similar grandiose scheme near Cove has just been recommended by planners for refusal but not before a packet of all our money has been gobbled up getting it to this stage.
Another thing that is unpleasant about community benefit is that it can be extremely divisive and divide communities rather than bringing them together.
Coaltown of Callange,
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