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Hundreds view plans for town wind farm

Hundreds of residents in Helensburgh and Lomond viewed plans for a community wind farm last weekend.

Developers say more than 300 people visited The Tower on Friday and Saturday, August 15 and 16, to see details of the planning application for five wind turbines on the land at Tom na Airdh hill, 2km north of Helensburgh.

Ian Fraser, of Helensburgh Renewables – the offshoot of Helensburgh Community Development Trust which is behind the plans for the community wind farm – hosted the exhibition.

He told the Advertiser said: “We were complemented many times on the quality of our exhibition the information on display and the excellent montages.

“People who did not want the turbines commented that we had not tried to hide anything from the townsfolk – they were as you would see them when built.”

Gavin Catto, director of Green Cat Renewables, added they had a lot of ‘genuine interest’ in the plans. He said: “Almost everyone I spoke to seemed to already know quite a lot about the project and what we are trying to achieve.

“The majority supported the project, and it was also good to have the opportunity to answer the questions of those who had concerns or did not like wind energy in principal.”

Community group TEG-H, which formed to assess the wind farm proposal, has criticised the proposals in terms of planning and finance.

A spokesman said: “There are some sensible precautions being proposed, such as cables under the ground, but TEG-H and its advisers have also identified serious concerns.

“These include the height of the turbines, their visual impact and claims about money for the town which are not adequately explained.

“The proposed wind farm has serious long-term social, environmental, and economic implications for Helensburgh and beyond, some potentially harmful. TEG-H will reach an overall conclusion on these and make it public.”

A survey by the developers, which asks for respondents to simply state whether they are in favour of the wind farm, is being delivered to 7,767 homes across Helensburgh, Rhu and Shandon by Royal Mail. The submissions deadline is on Monday, August 25.

Mr Fraser added: “It is essential that we understand the level of public support for this project, and for voices from across our community to be heard in this important decision for Helensburgh.”

In addition to the developers’ survey, the Rhu and Shandon Community Council have agreed to conduct an independent poll of their community before responding to the planning application.

The elected members revealed the decision following a recent meeting with members confirmed the site chosen for the 86 meter high turbines is within Rhu and Shandon.

Further details will be posted on the Rhu and Shandon Community Council website as they become available www.rhuandshandoncommunity.org.