A group set up to assess plans for wind turbines in Helensburgh and the surrounding area has officially objected to a proposal for two turbines at a farm in Shandon.
The Turbine Evaluation Group – Helensburgh and Area (TEG-H) says that although the turbines, proposed for a hillside site near Laigh Balernock, would not be seen from Helensburgh itself, they would adversely affect the landscape of the ‘zone of theoretical visibility’ around the farm.
As the Advertiser went to press, 24 comments had been made by members of the public on the application – with a split of exactly 50-50 between supporters and objectors.
Alastair Macbeth, secretary of TEG-H, says in the group’s objection: “The TEG-H objects to the application as it stands.
“Our assessment is that although the turbines would not be seen from Helensburgh, the Zone of Theoretical Visibility is large and the turbines would adversely affect the landscape of that zone, especially if pale in colour.
“Further, the turbines, if approved, would set a precedent, and they appear to be incompatible with aspects of planning policy.
“The TEG-H conclusion is that a valid case might be made for one, much smaller and inconspicuous, turbine to provide electricity for the farm.
“Such a corrected arrangement would be practical for the farm, would be ethical for the environment and community, and would be in keeping with planning policy. The application as it stands should be rejected.”
The group’s statement endorses the objection by Rhu and Shandon Community Council to the proposal – which, it says, “stands out among the submissions as a carefully-assessed and substantiated analysis deserving special attention”.
The development site crosses the boundary of the community council areas of Rhu and Shandon on one side and Garelochhead on the other – and while Rhu and Shandon members have objected to the plans, their counterparts in Garelochhead have endorsed them.
The planning application states that the ‘community benefit’ deriving from the turbines, if they are built, will be used to support the Route 81 youth project in Garelochhead.
Among the latest public comments in support of the plans are those from Garelochhead resident Laura Cameron, who said: “Given the location, and in particular the proximity to Faslane naval base, I believe that there are no grounds for complaints on the aesthetics basis, and welcome this initiative, along with the potential benefits to Garelochhead village.
“It is vital that we look to the future in respect to renewable energy, and from my personal point of view, this is almost the ideal place to have such turbines – especially since these are considerably smaller than the turbines on a lot of the wind farm sites.”
The TEG-H organisation was formed in response to plans for a five-turbine wind farm on land approximately 2km north of Helensburgh, which was submitted in July 2014 but withdrawn a year later after attracting 388 objections.
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