Comments made about controversial plans for a wind turbine have come under scrutiny amid concerns that some were made without the knowledge of their supposed authors.
In a bid to establish whether comments were submitted without the knowledge of those whose names appeared on them, Gwynedd council took the rare step of writing to the hundreds of people who had apparently made representations.
The controversy surrounds an application for a 67m wind turbine at Moelfre Bach in Llanaelhaearn near Pwllheli in Gwynedd.
The plans were due to go before the council’s planning committee on Monday, but members may reconsider in light of the controversy over the comments and a request by the applicant to defer the application.
A spokesperson for Gwynedd Council said: “Following concerns raised with the planning service regarding comments presented on this planning application, a decision was taken to write to every member of the public named on comments presented on the application.
“In the correspondence sent by the council, every individual was asked to contact the planning service if they believed that comments had been presented in their name without their knowledge.
“By doing this, the aim is to ensure that the planning service gives suitable consideration to all the relevant comments presented by the public in dealing with the application.
“The application is currently on the programme for the planning committee on September 1, and any comments presented during the further consultation will be considered before a decision is taken on whether the application will be considered in Monday’s meeting.
“The council has received a request from the applicant to defer the application. This request will be considered by the planning committee at its meeting on Monday.”
Dr Carl Clowes, chair of the Antur Aelhaearn group behind the plans, said the request to defer the application was made so that councillors could visit the site and learn more about the claimed benefits of the development.
He said the plans enjoyed widespread support and hoped the application would soon go before Gwynedd’s planning committee.
Opponents of the development say it would have an adverse effect on the landscape.
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said ministers had received requests to call in the application and assess whether the proposed development should be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment.
A direction has been issued by the Welsh Government which prevents the council from granting planning permission in Monday’s meeting.
The direction does not prevent the council from continuing to process or consult on the application, or from refusing planning permission.
Planning officers at Gwynedd council have recommended refusal for the proposed development.
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