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Factory withdraws turbine appeal

A major Greenock factory has abandoned plans to build a 250-foot (77-metre) high wind turbine which it said was vital in order to protect jobs at the plant.

Texas Instruments was refused permission to install the structure at their premises in Earnhill Road earlier this year by Inverclyde planning officials but appealed against the verdict.

Councillors were due to consider whether the decision should be overturned but a meeting of Inverclyde’s planning appeals committee – the local review body – was told the company has withdrawn the appeal. No further explanation was given in Texas Instruments’s letter to the council.

Inverclyde Council planning department refused the turbine saying it would create an “unexpected and dominant feature over a range of distances, adversely affecting a large population” because of its height, scale, proximity to housing and Gourock Golf Club and its hilltop location within the built-up area.

The company employs more than 300 full-time employees making microchips at the factory. A report submitted with the planning application on behalf of Texas Instruments had stated: “In recent years the rising cost of energy to the site has adversely affected the plant’s profitability. In addition, there is growing pressure on the company to reduce carbon emissions and operate in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. The development of a decentralised (wind) energy supply at the site is a central and vital component of the company’s short to medium-term business strategy.”

But the council’s head of regeneration and planning Stuart Jamieson had stated in his report: “The applicant has provided a socio-economic impact assessment which identifies that they are a significant employer in the area and, as well as competing in a global market, they have to compete with other sites within the company for cost-effectiveness. However, my unfavourable assessments on impacts on landscape and the wider environment…significantly outweigh any of the potential economic benefits.”