MP Margaret Ferrier has called for a halt to plans to erect a wind turbine in Cambuslang.
The Reformer revealed earlier this year that residents of the Loanend and Flemington Farm cottages, near Halfway, were unhappy, after the Healthy ‘n’ Happy community development trust proposed erecting a 76m industrial wind turbine mear their homes.
The charity want to use the turbine to generate electricity, with the proceeds being used to raise money for organisations in the local community.
But the area’s new SNP MP has backed the community in their fight.
The first step of the project, the erection of a 50m wind mast to check the location will provide sufficient wind, is being considered by South Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee next Tuesday, June 9.
After meeting with a group of the concerned residents, MP Ms Ferrier said: “Whilst supportive of renewable energy, I share many of the local residents’ concerns.
“Healthy ‘n’ Happy need to halt their plans in order to hold a proper consultation. This project has become contentious through lack of engagement to reach a local consensus. The trust may need to re-evaluate their choice of location.”
However, Jane Churchill, assistant director at Healthy ‘n’ Happy, said the charity had carried out a full consultation.
She said: “Healthy ‘n’ Happy community development trust can confirm that it has carried out extensive consultations, over and above what is required for this size of development.
“H’n’H recently contacted Margaret to congratulate her on her election and invite her to meet with us. Our offer of a meeting still stands and we would be very happy to meet in order to talk through this proposal and share the results of these consultations.”
The area’s Labour MSP James Kelly has also spoken with residents.
He said: “I have met with Loanend Cottage residents to discuss the proposed wind turbine. The proposal is causing anxiety because of its close proximity to the cottages. Having looked at the site the concerned I can see why that is the case.
“The objective of Healthy ‘n’ Happy is not unreasonable is trying to establish a wind turbine which will support the environment and generate a future income. It would be best if both parties came to an arrangement and that found an alternative site for the wind turbine.”
Liisa Hepworth, representing the community group against the Flemington wind turbine, said: “We don’t believe this wind mast can be looked at in isolation of the fact that it is a precursor to a large 76m industrial wind turbine and hope that this fact can be taken into account by the planning committee.
“This argument has been used in Highland Council and recently two applications for wind masts were turned down due to the cumulative visual impact.
“Our community is not confident the application for the wind mast will be turned down as South Lanarkshire Council have never turned one down yet, but they have never had so many individual objections to wind masts so we can only hope.”
Over 450 individual letters, emails and on line objections submitted through a petition reflects the strength of feeling of the Cambuslang East and Blantyre communities against this windturbine.
Opposition to the proposal is growing, with residents in Blantyre voicing their opposition to the proposal, after they learned of the turbine plan, and 290 objections have been submitted from Blantyre.
The objectors say this is in stark contrast to the 17 people who stated they supported the proposal following Healthy ‘n’ Happy’s public community consultation in Halfway library at the end of February.
Liisa continued: “The proposal to build the industrial turbine so close to communities has caused a lot of concern on so many grounds from different communities.
“The strength of feeling against this proposal is clearly reflected in the number of objections that have now been submitted to the planning department at South Lanarkshire Council.
“We are very disappointed that the charity who want to build this turbine are not listening to our concerns”
They have pointed to health concerns as a result of the turbine, the negative impact on the value of their properties by having a noisy turbine so close, and their fear that one turbine could result in the site being turned into a windfarm, but feel their concerns have been dismissed.
Liisa continued: “We find it incredible that a charity so concerned about being healthy and happy have ignored the information we have forwarded to them and our real concerns. We are devastated at their lack of empathy and understanding. This is a charity whose vision is to make all of Cambuslang and Rutherglen the happiest and healthiest place to live.
“We have met our local councillors, our new MP Margaret Ferrier and our MSP James Kelly to make them aware of our concerns and they are all now engaged with us, listening to our concerns, investigating matters and helping us. They have all stated that this is not the right place for this wind turbine. Their engagement has been so appreciated and such a relief to our community.”
Healthy ‘n’ Happy community development trust had denied claims from MP Margaret Ferrier that they haven’t carried out a full public consultation.
The group, which wants to erect a wind turbine on land near Flemington Farm, say:
●The landowner visited and spoke to local residents about the proposal in early February 2015, leaving contact details for both Healthy ‘n’ Happy and Green Cat Renewables. Nobody at this stage raised concerns with the landowner or chose to contact Jane or Robert for further detail.
● A letter informing people about the community exhibition was delivered on February 20.
●A community exhibition was held on February 25, 26 and 27 in Halfway Library.
● A 45 minute conversation with Healthy ‘n’ Happy and a local resident by phone responding to a range of questions took place on March 13.
● CD Roms and hard copies from the exhibition were delivered on Friday, March 20.
●Healthy ‘n’ Happy wrote to Halfway Community Council inviting them to meet with the Healthy ‘n’ Happy board to discuss the proposal in March 15. This offer has not been taken up.
● A visual impact visit offer and updated plan was delivered on Tuesday, March 31.
●Landscape and Visual Impact visits were carried out on Wednesday 8th April
● Ongoing meetings with the landowner throughout this time
●Numerous and ongoing email communication has taken place throughout this time between Healthy ‘n’ Happy and one specific campaigner and her husband.
●Ongoing updates have been published within The Reformer. The Reformer carried out a Voice of the People vox pop exercise on April 29, and all four of those spoken to were in favour.
●Healthy ‘n’ Happy carried out a range of on-street, telephone calls and meetings with local people from throughout the area, including street work in Halfway and spoke to 484 people during May 2015.
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