Dumfries and Galloway Council has pulled out of a hearing into a controversial Glenkens windfarm development, just weeks before it is due to take place.
Officials were due to appear at the Scottish Government session into Falck Renewables’ proposal to build taller turbines at Mochrum Fell.
But economy and development boss Steve Rogers says that will now not be happening – a move branded “regrettable” by a Scottish Government official.
More than 600 people objected to Falck’s plans for eight, 125m turbines at Mochrum Fell in 2015 and it was kicked out by the council only to then be successfully appealed to the Scottish Government the following year.
The firm then applied for permission for a revised proposal featuring seven turbines, some as tall as 150m.
With no decision made in the required timeframe, it called on the Scottish Government to step in once more and a hearing featuring interested parties, including the council, is scheduled for May 9 and 10.
But in a letter to the Holyrood case officer Christine Brown, Mr Rogers said council officers were unable to attend.
He wrote: “As an application for major development, this proposal required to be reported to the council’s planning applications committee and was not a delegated matter to officers.
“No committee decision has been issued in respect of this application and therefore council officers have no mandate to appear at the hearings.
“The council recognises that it has not determined the application within the statutory or other agreed timescale and that it is now for the reporter to make a decision.”
Mr Rogers also asked for documents already submitted by the council to be withdrawn. Writing to other parties to inform them of the move, Ms Brown described the council’s position as “regrettable” but said the hearing would go ahead as planned.
She added: “It is extremely unsatisfactory that the council will not be able to take part in the programmed discussions at the hearings.
“The reporter has considered whether it would be appropriate to cancel the hearing, call an inquiry and then cite the council to appear. However, based on the council’s position that its officers do not have a mandate to appear, she has decided that there is little to be gained from an inevitable postponement and further delay to the appeal process.”
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