Helensburgh Community Council will host a public debate on the proposed wind farm ‘to better inform’ the public on the arguments for and against the development.
Following a presentation by Turbines Evaluation Group–Helensburgh (TEG-H) at last Thursday’s Helensburgh Community Council meeting, and a resulting ‘lengthy debate’, members decided to invite the group to participate in a debate with the Helensburgh Renewables, developers of the five-turbine wind farm proposed for the hills the land to the south east of Tom Na H Airidh.
Darrel Hendrie, convener of HCC, said: “It was felt there are two sides of the argument for and against the proposal for a wind farm. The public should be able to listen to both sides have the opportunity to ask questions of both the wind farm developers and TEG-H.
“The meeting will start with both sides having an equal amount of time to state there case followed by a question and answer session with the public asking the questions.”
The community council will look into suitable dates for both parties, within the available schedule for the Victoria Halls.
TEG-H says it is in the process of analysing the planning application for a wind farm.
During its presentation last Thursday, a spokesman for the group highlighted that the wind farm site is partly in HCC territory and partly in Rhu and Shandon Community Council land, but added the development has ‘implications’ for at least six community councils.
He told the Advertiser: “TEG-H supports renewable energy, but of the right sorts in the right places. Since a planning application is now lodged, the focus must be on planning considerations.
“Possible ‘community benefit’ cash is not a planning consideration, although it affects community opinions.”
TEG-H referred to the Scottish Government’s new Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) and circulated the list of 19 considerations regarding wind farms, including: visual impacts; landscape and townscape character; cumulative impacts; long-distance and other walking paths; impact on the National Scenic Area within the National Park; economies of communities; tourism; recreation; and others affecting Helensburgh and area.
The spokesman added: “TEG-H is assessing the wind farm proposal in terms of those issues. TEG-H is not a formal opposition group, but made clear that more of the aspects it has considered to date cause anxiety than provide support and should be brought to the attention of the communities.”
In response to the TEG-H presentation, Ian Fraser, of Helensburgh Renewables, told the Advertiser: “Helensburgh Community Wind Farm offers the town and its people a significant opportunity to generate much needed funding for local projects.
“The Community Wind Farm will bring an expected income to the community of £4 million over the lifetime of the project. It is therefore imperative that everyone who cares about the proposals is well informed and can make up their own minds.
“Helensburgh Renewables was therefore disappointed by the misleading information and illustrations presented by the Turbine Evaluation Group Helensburgh (TEG-H) to Helensburgh Community Council last Thursday evening.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, in my view, TEG-H failed to provide the balanced assessment of facts they had promised the people of Helensburgh, and it is now clear TEG-H is in fact an objector group.”
In other HCC news, it was revealed there will be a by-election for the community council in the near future to fill a few vacancies. HCC are keen to see contributions for younger members and people from ‘all walks of life’.
The next meeting of HCC will be held on Thursday, September 25, at 7pm in the Victoria Halls.
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