May 20, 2020

Online public inquiry to consider Carnoustie golf links compulsory purchase battle

By Graham Brown | The Courier | May 20, 2020 |

A three-day online public inquiry will take place over the planned compulsory purchase of land, which includes part of Carnoustie’s famous golf links, for work associated with what will become Scotland’s biggest offshore windfarm.

Cables from the near-£6billion Seagreen development off the Angus coast are due to make land at the Angus town and be run underground to a substation near Tealing.

Landowner Angus Council and Carnoustie Golf Links are continuing to fight energy giant SSE’s use of compulsory purchase powers to acquire the land.

The latest stage of the land grab bid was heard on Thursday in a remote pre-inquiry meeting to firm the timetable for the main three-day hearing towards the end of next month.

The golf links body’s remaining objections include the physical effects on the land during the windfarm’s construction phase as well as potential longer-term impacts.

Those include loss of income, reputational damage and any likely future effect on the Carnoustie course to host major events such as The Open Championship, which last visited in 2018 and saw Italian Francesco Molinari capture the Claret Jug.

The planned cable route, possible effect on the existing Tealing wind farm and concerns around the project’s impact on Murroes Primary School also remain unresolved objections within the CPO bid.

The links body has suggested a route which used MoD land at Barry Buddon would be a better option for the cable route.

Reporter David Buylla has been appointed to consider the matter on behalf of Scottish Ministers and inquiry is due to start on June 22.

The 120-turbine wind farm will be built more than 15 miles off the Angus coast, with the potential to power an estimated 1.2million homes from the 1.5 gigawatt scheme during its 25-year life.

Ahead of the pre-inquiry hearing, Angus Council was also given an assurance that the Zoom platform being used to host the remote meeting will be secure.

It follows the local authority’s own Covid-19 special arrangements committee being ambushed by porn hijackers earlier this month, forcing officials to abandon proceedings and lock members of the public out of the resumed meeting.

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