Nearly 550 people have commented on plans for the UK’s largest community wind farm – and now the formal deadline has been extended for a second time.
Initially the public had until January 31 to make representations on the Cove Community Wind Farm.
But this was extended to February 18 after Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park officials asked for more time to consider the plans for five 92.5-metre turbines.
Now Argyll and Bute Council – which has already received 580 comments on the proposals – has agreed to a request from the RSPB for the deadline to be extended to February 22.
The site off Barbour Road in Cove is near an area which is home to hen harriers and black grouse, while ospreys have also been sighted.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Due to the complexity of this application, an Environmental Statement is required under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 2011.
“Both the planning application and Environmental Statement require to be advertised. The closing date for comments on the planning application advert published in the Helensburgh Advertiser is January 31 while the closing date for the Environmental Statement advert in the Edinburgh Gazette is February 22.
“As the council cannot proceed with the determination of this application until after the expiry of the latter of these dates, representations on the planning application will be accepted until February 22.”
Comments can be made on the council’s website here – so far 544 comments from members of the public have been received with hundreds having their say on both sides of the debate, while Inverclyde Council has registered concerns and environment agency SEPA has objected, saying there is not enough information about measures protecting Groundwater Dependant Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTE).
Development trust members were again knocking on doors in Cove and Kilcreggan last Sunday encouraging residents to support the project, which they say would raise between £300,000 and £400,000 for the local community.
But when a plan for a single turbine near Tarbert on Loch Fine was refused last month – albeit without any local expressions of support, in contrast to the Cove proposal – planners advised: “It is understood that a letter from the applicants has been circulated to members with details of the intended level of community benefit to be provided should the proposal be successful in obtaining planning permission.
“This is no a valid ‘material planning consideration’.
“In the event that planning permission is granted, the negotiation of any community benefit… would take place outside the application process.”